Daniel Ricciardo has asserted that he is “in a happy place” after returning to the Formula 1 grid with AlphaTauri this season.
Ricciardo parted ways with McLaren at the end of the 2022 campaign amid a difficult two years with the Woking-based squad.
The Australian was consistently out-paced by Lando Norris as he struggled to get up to speed within the team.
Ricciardo returned to Red Bull in a third driver role for this year, several years after opting to leave the organisation for a different challenge.
However, he was ushered back to the grid midway through the year to replace Nyck de Vries - but his time was shortlived as he injured his hand during the Dutch Grand Prix weekend which sidelined him for several weeks.
After his return from injury, Ricciardo scored a seventh-place result in Mexico and secured a spot with the team for next season.
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Ricciardo has declared that he is in a better state of mind now compared to his time at McLaren.
“I think when I look back on this year, it's a year I never would have expected in so many ways,” Ricciardo told media including RacingNews365.com.
“I didn't expect to be racing at all this year, let alone kind of going through everything else. So it's something that I'm definitely happy [about].
“The place I am and what I feel, let's say inside my heart ultimately, I'm really in a happy place, and I'm happy being here racing again.
“I'd say like, just fully hungry and motivated. It's probably the first off-season that I would not really want an off-season.
“I want to keep racing and keep a bit of the flow going. But also the thought of having a little bit of a break and getting myself prepared for next year, that excites me as well.