Daniel Ricciardo has described how his six months away from Formula 1 refreshed and gave him a 'second chance' after his horror McLaren spell.
Unable to gel with McLaren's car, Ricciardo was let go at the end of 2022, and unwilling to drop down the grid, was left without a seat, instead signing as the Red Bull reserve.
However, following Nyck de Vries' under-performances at AlphaTauri, Ricciardo was drafted in for the Hungarian GP, but just two races in, broke his hand in practice for the Dutch GP.
Liam Lawson deputised, with the eight-time Grand Prix winner returning in the United States, just as the AT04 package improved.
Ricciardo banked the best result of the year for the team with seventh in Mexico City, and is feeling back in love with F1 having fallen out during his McLaren struggles.
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Ricciardo on comeback
"It should be the coolest thing that we do, right?" Ricciardo explained to media including RacingNews365.
"But when you've done it your whole life, and obviously, when you're winning, it's kind of easy, but when you're not, you go through some other challenging moments where you can become a little bit frustrated with it.
"On the competitive side, your confidence takes a hit, so, then you're kind of asking yourself more questions.
"That also makes you question the love for it, then maybe you're not as hungry and the other sides of the sport, in terms of preparation.
"Having the time off was, it gave me the answer of how much I do love it, ultimately. How much it means to me. And I think that's also where I feel like I got a second chance, a second wind, where it's like: 'Okay, I want to make sure this is my one and only priority, I'm going to put all my energy into this.'
"Because I just don't want to walk away one day and be like: 'I could have done more’ or, 'That career slipped a little bit out of my fingers.'
"I'd hate to feel that, so [the time off] gave me a new perspective, which is really cool.
"I’d say I’d recommend it to everyone! I mean, obviously everyone's on their own kind of path but I can't believe how much I've enjoyed the second half the season. It's, it's pretty crazy what six months can do."