Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that an early simulator session with Red Bull this year helped to reinvigorate and re-energise the Australian.
A disappointing 2022 season saw Ricciardo lose his drive with McLaren, and with no other suitable race seats available for 2023, he instead took a reserve driver role at Red Bull, for whom he had previously raced between 2014 and 2018.
The popular Australian made his first appearance in an F1 paddock this year at his home race in Melbourne last time out.
Rreviously, Ricciardo had spent time at work in Red Bull’s simulator in Milton Keynes, and spoke of how surprisingly enjoyable and invigorating those first sessions had been.
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It was good to miss the simulator work - Ricciardo
"My first day on the simulator with Red Bull this year was honestly probably the most fun simulator session I've ever had," Ricciardo told Speedcafe.
"I hadn't driven really in close to three months, so it was all new and exciting, and I was back in an environment which I've obviously got a lot of fond memories from.
"I felt it in the room. Simon [Rennie], who was my engineer back in the day, was running the session with me and we just giggled. We had such a good day.
"Because the sim, it certainly feels like work, it has become work, especially as a racing driver – you get into your work and you get out.
"But I remember I would do a session and someone's like, 'Oh, we can call it if you've had enough laps'.
"And I'm like, 'Nah, one more lap'. Across the line, I'll do a bit better, 'One more lap!', so we kept joking that it was hard to pull me out.
"That was a little bit rare because the older I got, the more I just wanted to race and didn't care so much about going to do a test or anything.
"The real enjoyment was from competition, so for me to enjoy the simulator like that meant that it was good to miss it for a little while.
"And being back in that environment is better than I thought it would be."
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