‘Not my happy self’: Ricciardo reveals low point

Daniel Ricciardo has made a startling admission about his headspace after his early departure from McLaren.

In a fresh interview, Ricciardo revealed he wasn’t eating properly and was full of “nervous energy”.

He also revealed after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he wasn’t sure he even wanted to return to the sport.

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“I don’t want to like go too far and be like, ‘yeah, I was depressed’ or whatever, but I certainly wasn’t always eating as much,” he told RaceFans.

“I think I just wasn’t feeling right. I was honestly just not like my happy self, not my normal self. 

“So much was going on last year, I could feel I had this kind of nervous energy inside me. I didn’t have an appetite as much. I was just a bit scattered … I was a little thin.”

Ricciardo split with McLaren with a year remaining on his contract at the end of the 2022 season.

He then turned down offers from backmarker teams to stay on the grid, and signed with Red Bull as a reserve driver. The 33-year-old eight-time grand prix winner has maintained he would only return to the F1 grid with a frontrunning team.

“By the end of last year, I was not sure if I would want to come back. I was very open-minded to, ‘okay, maybe I spend Christmas at home and I’m like yeah, I’m happy with this life now, I’m going to go and pursue something else’. 

“But I knew probably already in March that I don’t feel done, I don’t feel retired.

“I think as well there’s a part of me – and this might sound like ego, but it’s certainly not – I don’t want my book to close that way. I don’t really care too much about legacy, but I feel like it’s not the way that I should go out and I feel like I can still give more. 

“So if I get the right opportunity, of course I would love to do that.”

Much of Ricciardo’s 2023 work for Red Bull has been in the simulator, which is now run by his old race engineer.

He will get his first chance back at the wheel of an F1 car during a tyre test following the British Grand Prix next month.

The F1 circus continues at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.

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