Daniel Ricciardo will be “peaceful” if the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix becomes his last race in F1.
The race marked Ricciardo’s final grand prix with McLaren following a mutual decision to terminate his multi-year contract early.
With the Australian without a race seat in 2023, he looks set to spend the year on the sidelines as a reserve driver, likely driving for Red Bull Racing.
While he is targeting a return to action in 2024, Ricciardo admits that is not certain after the race in Abu Dhabi, where he finished ninth on points.
Ricciardo ‘relaxed’ after 2022 season finale
After a tough final season with McLaren, Ricciardo was so much more pleased with his performance at Yas Marina Circuit that if it was his last Formula 1 race, he would take the it.
“I’m very happy,” Ricciardo told the media, including RacingNews365.com.
“I’m also relieved that the season ended this way and not like the Brazil game. [with a DNF on the first lap].
“I think seeing the checkered flag, getting the points, it just makes me a little bit more peaceful about how the year ends.
“Of course, I don’t know what the future holds, so if it’s my last game, at least I can say, ‘OK’. I’m with [Sebastian] Finally Vettel.
“I’m much more satisfied with my performance and I’m relieved for that.”
Ricciardo: I don’t want to be overwhelmed by emotions
Unlike Vettel – who announced earlier this season that he would retire from F1 at the end of the 2022 season – the final outcome of Ricciardo’s exit from the sport is less certain.
Still, the eight-time tournament winner was keen to focus on the task at hand in Abu Dhabi rather than being distracted by emotions about the future.
“Honestly, I try not to get too emotional,” Ricardo said.
“Because it’s not a sure thing—maybe [the last race], maybe not, and there’s still a race to happen. I don’t want to get overwhelmed by emotions, a lot of nostalgia and all those things.
“I just tried to stay focused and, of course, tried to absorb everything and appreciate it, but at the end of the day, I stayed focused and tried to focus on what was obviously a 58-lap race.”