Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he was "like a man possessed" ahead of finally ending his win drought in the recent Italian Grand Prix.
The Australian driver brought the curtain down on a 66-race run without a victory by spearheading a remarkable McLaren one-two at Monza as the team celebrated its first triumph for nine years.
Ricciardo, though, has claimed he was a different driver that weekend, sparked by his own growing frustration at failing to prove himself following his high-profile switch to McLaren at the start of the year.
"Everyone knows it’s been a challenging year for me, probably the most challenging of my F1 career," said Ricciardo in a Q&A on the McLaren website.
"But there was something… I definitely took something from August, from the break, just getting away for a bit. I needed that. I needed to step away, to get a bit of distance and, through that, gain a little perspective.
"Coming into the Italian Grand Prix - and I know it’s easy to say it now - but anyone who watched the weekend unfold will know, there was something about me that was kind of like a man possessed.
"And I don’t always show that in interviews but, behind closed doors, I was as hungry as I’ve been in a very long time.
"I realised early on that the weekend was an opportunity. I was sick of sucking all year and I was just like, 'Yeah, let’s go!'"
Ricciardo's "unicorn" theory
Ricciardo claims the victory was "on a par with the high" of his previous success in Monaco, in particular given the lows he has endured this season with McLaren.
The 32-year-old has struggled with a car in which team-mate Lando Norris has thrived to such an extent the Briton is in a battle for third in the drivers' standings with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.
Claiming "there were definitely moments" when his motivation was low, Ricciardo added: "Because the results weren’t there, and it wasn’t that clear to me as to why. Those days were not fun.
"I don’t race to just be another driver and to be on TV. I race to win and achieve success, and to be the guy who everyone’s like, 'Yeah, this is the guy.' When you’re far away from that, it sucks and it’s not enjoyable.
"This year there have been more of those days where I wasn’t stoked but I have had those days in previous years and, maybe I’m one of the only ones to admit it, but I think it’s just a product of the sport we’re in.
"As a driver, your win ratio is smaller than probably any other sport. In most team sports, you probably win 50 per cent of the time, if not more, but name a driver who has a 50 per-cent-win ratio in F1? No one.
"I don’t think anyone does and if they do, then they’re a unicorn.
"You enter this sport knowing that you’re gonna have to put up with a lot of lows, but that’s what makes the highs even higher. And that’s what draws you back in."
What do you think?
Ricciardo ricciardo ricciardo. I was getting bored of all the Hamilton and verstappen BS but this is getting worse. He's won ONE race in over 4 years and all you lot are saying he is the new messiah. Give it a frigging break for crying out loud.
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