Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on the "harsh reality" of his sacking from McLaren during the 2022 Formula 1 season.
The Australian was informed that he would be dropped midway through the season after poor performances, despite taking their first win in over 10 years at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
His results did not align with teammate Lando Norris on track, who achieved a podium at the Emilia Romagna GP and regularly finished in the points in the tough MCL35.
Fellow compatriot Oscar Piastri would be named as Ricciardo's replacement, in what turned out to be a controversial signing for the team.
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Ricciardo: I didn't care anymore
Speaking about his departure from McLaren, Ricciardo opened up on when he knew his time was up at the team.
"I'm a pretty easy-going guy, I got on with the team, and I didn't fall out with anyone in the team," he told Goodwood Road and Racing.
"But it's all performance-based and, let's say, the business side of it didn't work out.
"At the time, it was a bit of a harsh reality getting fired. But by the end of the season, when I got home for Christmas, I was like: 'Okay, it probably doesn't help my reputation', but at that point, I didn't care anymore. It was a blessing in disguise."
Ricciardo would eventually find solace at his old team Red Bull who took him on as their third driver for the first half of the 2023 season, before making a return to the grid with AlphaTauri to replace the underperforming Nyck de Vries.
During his period out of the car, Ricciardo speaks of having to find his love for F1 again after a difficult few seasons not challenging for wins or titles.
"I needed to step away for a bit, to re-find myself, re-find my love for the sport," he explained.
"If it could have been done in a better way, fine, but at the same time, I don't think me finishing out the contract this year would have done me any favours.
"I guess, in a way, I thank them for making that decision because we were in a bit of a hole, and I'm not sure we could have got out of it."