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Ricciardo ends 20-month Australia exile with "emotional" return home for Christmas

Ricciardo ends 20-month Australia exile with "emotional" return home for Christmas

F1 News

Ricciardo ends 20-month Australia exile with "emotional" return home for Christmas

Ricciardo ends 20-month Australia exile with "emotional" return home for Christmas

Daniel Ricciardo has ended a 20-month exile from his Australian homeland with an "emotional" return home to be with his family for Christmas.

Like many people around the world during the pandemic, Ricciardo has been forced to stay in touch remotely, in particular as Australia has maintained strict control over its borders, even for residents seeking to return for short visits.

That left the McLaren driver feeling homesick on occasions since he left Australia shortly prior to the start of the 2020 season following F1's lockdown period during the first half of last year.

With travel restrictions easing recently, prior to the arrival of the Omicron variant, the 32-year-old naturally took full advantage to finally head home after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Speaking in a recent interview prior to that journey, asked about going home again, Ricciardo said: "I counted. By the time I get home, it's close to 20 months. Close to 20 months! It's like 19 and a half or something.

"That's made this year more difficult as well. The lows are lower because you don't have that… I've got family support in McLaren, but I don't have my family family.

"Even if it's not like to put an arm around me, it's like, 'Let's get away for the weekend. Let's just go and do something and let's switch off for a bit'.

"Even a family can provide a really nice escape. That's been tough, for sure."

Recognising how emotional such a return would be, Ricciardo added: "It's normally my mum doing the crying when I get home for Christmas, but I think I'll be a bit emotional as well.

"Everyone can relate. We're not kids anymore, we're adults, and you get older and naturally, your family gets older.

"Every year that passes is one more year that you kind of miss out. Even with nieces and nephews, it's a year that I've missed them growing up.

"So I do hold that stuff close to me, for sure. This job is tough as it is being away from loved ones.

"So I think it will be quite emotional, but it will obviously be really nice."

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