McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo is set to visit his favourite track on the Formula 1 calendar. Despite his barely containable excitement, the affable Australian is also cautious with his expectations given that the usual buzz around the venue is set to be tempered by the coronavirus restrictions.
The Monaco Grand Prix, often considered F1's crown jewel, is set to return to the calendar after missing out on last year due to the travel restrictions imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One driver who is thrilled to be back is Ricciardo who in 2018 claimed his first win at the historic street circuit, though he is also expecting a very different atmosphere compared to the previous race in 2019.
"I am so excited to go there, but I am a bit scared to not get too excited," Ricciardo told the BBC.
"The whole aura of the boats and everyone and people on the track at the end of the day drinking and partying - not having that to that level will probably feel a little empty but for the in-car stuff, I think we'll probably be OK.
"We will have some fans, which is a start, so maybe there will be a little bit calm before the storm.
"The track itself is so intense, that will always be a 10 out of 10. The build-up, kind of walking through the crowd and fans to get into the pit lane, into your car - it's already kind of chaotic before you get into the car, so your heart rate is already up and the circuit's going to do the rest for you."
Ricciardo also offered his opinion on the current battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 Formula 1 championship
"A lot of people are probably tipping their hat to Lewis," Ricciardo said.
"He is getting it dished back at him and holding his ground and showing people who maybe doubted him why he is as good as he is."
While McLaren currently sit third in the constructor's standings, the team have Ferrari breathing down their necks. The Woking-based outfit will be hoping Ricciardo's love affair with Monaco translates into on track performance as both the Australian and teammate Lando Norris will be looking to keep the British team ahead of their Italian rivals.