Daniel Ricciardo says a 'lightbulb' moment convinced him to return to Red Bull in 2023.
After a poor 2022 in which he was overwhelmingly overshadowed by teammate Lando Norris, Ricciardo's contract with McLaren was terminated one year early, leaving the Australian looking for a new drive for 2023.
Though several teams are changing drivers for next year, Ricciardo was not thought to seriously be in the running for any position, with the Australian instead relegated to searching for reserve driver openings for 2023.
Ricciardo ultimately opted to return to Red Bull, for whom he won seven Grands Prix between 2014 and 2018, and though he had discussions with other teams, the Australian said it quickly became clear that Red Bull was to be his ideal destination.
"For reserve talks, I did speak to Mercedes as well. It wasn't to the point where there was a contract – it didn't get that far," Ricciardo told the Beyond The Grid podcast.
"But once I had the initial chats with Red Bull, when we really started to engage a little further, that's when it was kind of like a lightbulb where I was like, 'this is the only place for me, it's perfect'."
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Ricciardo grateful for Red Bull opportunity
Ricciardo also revealed that Red Bull’s race drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez had also reacted positively to his joining the team for 2023.
"I had a little word to both of them in Abu Dhabi, when they heard internally from the team, or they caught wind that it was starting to get close," said Ricciardo.
"I think they were excited. I'm just honestly grateful to be back in that environment, to have an opportunity to work with them again, and to try and help.
"People would be like, 'they don't need help, because they're dominating at the moment', but they're a target now, they've got a big target on their back.
"So if I can help them, then I'll feel like I've made a contribution."
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