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Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo reveals 'jealousy' that fuelled F1 comeback

Daniel Ricciardo has expressed his feelings of "envy" at watching Monaco Grand Prix qualifying from the sidelines last year when he was without an F1 seat.

Ricciardo Imola race
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Daniel Ricciardo has expressed his emotions at having to watch the Monaco Grand Prix weekend from the sidelines last season.

The 34-year-old was without a drive after being released from his McLaren contract at the end of 2022. Whilst he did ultimately take over Nyck de Vries' AlphaTauri seat before mid-season, he had to watch on as his peers took to the streets of the principality.

Now back in a full-time race seat with RB, the Australian has explained what it felt like to miss out on competing against the rest of the field at this point last year.

"I remember standing there with Christian [Horner]," he began when telling media, including RacingNews365, about watching qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, looking out over the last sector with his former team principal. "I think he even said, 'You're missing this, aren't you?', and I was like 'Yeah, I'm really jealous.'

"In a way, it was like 'Oh, I feel a lot less stressed than I do sitting downstairs' but there's such an envy. The feeling of driving around here and having that opportunity to push a car to the limit, it's just so awesomely scary and beautiful and insane and intense. 

"It's one of life's greatest experiences. It's just so hard to match a feeling like that, and [I'm] really excited to get that opportunity again.

'Every part of it is earned around here'

Despite being jealous at having to watch from the sidelines, Ricciardo explained he did enjoy doing so to a certain extent, picking out the qualifying laps of Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon as a particular highlight.

"I had the opportunity to watch last year," recalled Ricciardo. "I could watch the onboard, obviously, of Max's last sector, and you can just see the connection, the confidence and brushing the walls didn't faze him.

"In fact, he wanted to even brush the wall down the straight. There's this kind of feeling where you're just so comfortable and willing to push it that extra bit and without fear.

"I take my hat off to Ocon as well - his lap here last year. You could see that 'Oh, this kid is so connected to his car right now, it's like you can visually see the confidence of a driver around here," he said, before adding: "As I was watching from a fan's view last year, I really enjoyed watching those couple of laps from them as some standouts."

The eight-time grand race winner, who won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2018, went on to detail the importance of qualifying in the principality, and what it feels like to have "earned" pole position.

"The highs are high and the lows are low, because you know that if you qualify bad, the weekend is pretty much done." he said. "You can only be so optimistic on a track that doesn't really allow overtaking. So that's why quali is such a powerful feeling around here.

"Like Max last year, when he crossed the line after hitting the wall probably three times in the last sector... in his head, he's probably like, 'No one was willing to hit the wall three times. I earned this pole lap'. There's this feeling of 'I really deserve this.' Every part of it is earned around here."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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