Motorsport-Magazin.com – Daniel Ricciardo’s victory in the Formula 1 race at Monza was in many ways a special moment for the Australian. He had to wait more than three years to come back to the top of the podium. Since leaving Red Bull, he has faced a number of tough challenges that have at times dangerously slowed his career. Winning for McLaren is a milestone for the 32-year-old.
“I’m sorry if I sound a little self-centered now, but when I think of McLaren I think of Senna. Those are my earliest memories and when I think of the Cup at the McLaren Technology Center And now it’s crazy to have a trophy with them to name me there,” said Ricciardo, who was the 20th winner in Italy for the traditional British racing team.
It was his eighth Formula 1 victory and the first time he had not topped the Red Bull colours. He celebrated his first victory for the Austrians in Canada in 2014 and his last victory in Monaco three years later. “It meant everything to me. After all, it took three and a half years and I would be very sad if my entire happiness depended on winning the race,” he explains.
Ricciardo. Roller Coaster for Over Three Years
But beam man Daniel Ricciardo has experienced a rollercoaster in recent years, which he hasn’t always felt like smiling. “A lot has happened since Monaco in 2018. Coming back is one of those moments for which we love the sport. Then all those shiny days are worth it again. It’s that simple,” he says. He had some humble days during this time.
The first was to cut the cord from Red Bull completely without issue. He did not feel valued by his former sponsors in favor of Max Verstappen and walked away from Renault. At the French’s service, he seemed unaffected in 2019 and signed with McLaren before the start of the 2020 season. With the door handled, he then showed a great season with two podiums at Renault and fifth in the overall standings.
Brown inspires Ricciardo with a special reward
When they switched to McLaren, they seemed to have what it takes to be together. The team, which was best-of-rest behind the top teams for two consecutive years, probably picked up the best drivers from midfield. So at the start of the new chapter, it was a highly likely scenario for McLaren CEO Zak Browne when he offered Ricciardo a special prize as a prize for a podium.
The American promised Ricardo a ride in a famous Dale Earnhardt car from his personal collection. The NASCAR veteran, who died in Daytona in 2001, is Ricciardo’s young hero who inspired him to become No. 3, which he has been representing in Formula 1 since 2014. “I think to myself, maybe he’ll give me the car?”, Ricciardo demands something more after Monza. “It was always about a podium and then I can run to it. We never talked about winning.”
It would be fitting for him to have Earnhardt’s 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to his possession: “He was allowed to drink from my shoes, so maybe he’ll give me the car. It’s a good swap,” said Ricciardo. Your normally said charming sense of humour. It’s been a tough one for him over the past few weeks, as it didn’t look like he’d be able to enjoy test drives with the great NASCAR until Monza.
Particularly tough times after McLaren move
He didn’t seem to have done himself any favors by joining McLaren. In the first half of the 2021 season, he mostly lagged behind teammate Lando Norris. Despite his generous yield from Monza, he is still 49 points behind the table. The victory came at the right time. “It’s reassuring. I believe in myself, of course, but I’ve been challenged a lot this year,” he says.
For the third time since his disappointing year at Red Bull and a difficult start with Renault, he found himself in the position of McLaren who stole his mojo. You can get lost very easily and deep down, I had these moments of despair and I hung my head, ”explains Ricciardo. But in these situations he always relied on his inner strength.
“I never got to the point where I gave myself to it. Sure, this year I have days when I didn’t like it. But I’ve had those days pretty much every year,” he says . “There were probably more of them this year, but I never let these feelings go. I think they make you appreciate the good days and they help answer questions at your core in life, just like you at all.” want it and what does it mean to you.”
The victory sparked Ricciardo’s love for Formula 1
The win at Monza freed him from his doubts and despair after the initial hardships: “For a moment you lose your love for the game, but the clarity you get afterward lets you understand that you can’t play it.” How much love and how much you love it I think it was the biggest thing over the weekend,” he explains. “This game is hard, there’s no black or white. Sometimes you struggle to find the answer and I think you just have to stay on track and stay on this path.”
The fact that he will soon be able to drive one of his idol’s famous cars is the culmination of this invaluable insight: “To me, Dale Earnhardt is a great hero and deserves to be behind the wheel of one of his cars. The opportunity is crazy. I have to pinch myself at the moment. Those are the two little things I really appreciate and those are the surreal moments that capture me.”
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