Daniel Ricciardo says he was worried he had lost his touch upon returning to Red Bull as a reserve driver this year.
A poor 2022 season saw Ricciardo released from his McLaren drive a year ahead of schedule, and with no other suitable race seats available, the Australian elected to take a reserve role at Red Bull, for whom he had raced between 2014 and 2018, winning seven Grands Prix.
Team boss Christian Horner revealed earlier this year that he felt Ricciardo had picked up some "bad habits" since first leaving Red Bull in 2018, and the Australian revealed that a chastening 2022 had knocked his confidence behind the wheel.
"The first day at Red Bull when I got back in, I was trying to obviously adjust to that car, but also the sim," Ricciardo told RaceFans.
"It definitely took me more laps than I wanted at first, and I think that it was probably looking like, 'Oh, he's driving different' or 'He's got weird habits' or whatever."
"I think that it was when I was there that first day that I realised I'd lost some confidence in myself."
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Familiar faces helped Ricciardo to readjust
Ricciardo added that his return to Red Bull was aided by the presence of a familiar face from his first stint with the team who helped him settle back in.
"I know last year my results weren't good, but you're so in it that you don't really realise truly how you are or how you're viewing yourself," he explained.
"When I got to [Red Bull's] sim, I felt a bit nervous, so it made me realise that it had taken a hit on my confidence.
"But then, on the flip side, the second half of the day then went really well. Now I feel like it's been like I never left, and that's really nice. I've got Simon [Rennie] who was my engineer – he runs the sim, so we're in a really good place now.
"But for sure, the first couple of hours, I was still like 'Oh, have I lost it?'. But we recovered. I'm actually really enjoying it, to a point where Simon's like, 'Alright mate, you can stop now', and I'm like, 'One more lap!'."