Daniel Ricciardo believes his Formula 1 season has finally hit rock-bottom after the Dutch Grand Prix, saying he thought things couldn't "get any worse."
Ricciardo has been comprehensively out-performed by Lando Norris during their two-year stint together at McLaren - the former Renault driver unable to adjust to driving the Woking designed car.
Aside from his win at Monza in 2021, Ricciardo has not scored another podium for McLaren - and has 19 points after 15 races in '22 compared to one Norris podium at Imola and 82 points.
He will be replaced for 2023 by Oscar Piastri - with McLaren having wrangled the '21 F2 champion out of Alpine.
Despite a strong start to the Zandvoort meeting on Friday, Ricciardo slumped out in Q1, and finished where he started in 17th.
He admitted that things were worse than he thought.
Ricciardo has scored points just four times this season, and faces an uphill battle to secure a 2023 F1 race seat.
A return to Alpine/Renault seems implausible as they have selected Pierre Gasly as their preferred Fernando Alonso-sized replacement, with seats at AlphaTauri, Williams, Haas or even a sabbatical his only real options.
"I feel like there's been a lot of bad [races]," Ricciardo explained to media including RacingNews365.com.
"I say it's the worst, and I didn't think it could could get worse.
"It's weird as well, because I think back to FP1, I remember the first few laps of the session and [race engineer] Tom [Stallard] was like: 'alright, that's P1.', and I was like: 'alright.'
"Not everyone had set a time, but I felt it was trending to be a much better weekend.
"And that's where it's a weird one. I know Qualifying got away from us through through the last corner, but I felt like we were looking a much better car or in a better place after the first practice session.
"So yeah, tough, but certainly not a good weekend."
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Ricciardo, who held clear the air talks with Piastri and his manager Mark Webber at Zandvoort also spoke about how he coped with the announcement of his McLaren departure and elaborated on his present situation.
"If I said I'd loved every second I don't think you should publish that, because you would know it is a lie.
"Definitely the Spa weekend and the Thursday was less enjoyable as I just knew I would have to go through the motions of what people were going to ask me.
"I was prepared to answer everything and knew what was going to come, so it wasn't a shock, but talking about it when you just want to get back racing is tricky.
"It's not helped by it and the on-track stuff is tough, but when I put the helmet on, I shut it out and I feel I'm very good at that.
"But maybe I'm not superhuman and I don't want to be naive - so I am sure there is still some of that hanging about."
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