Formula 1 | ‘I did not want friends’: Ricciardo forced his nature when he arrived in F1

Granted, Daniel Ricciardo seems to be one of the friendliest and most smiling drivers on the net.

Some gossipers have sometimes said that the Australian’s smile was pretended to reflect a good picture of him …

That, of course, is not the case: the McLaren driver, as he assured Maxim, is obviously a cheerful one. This attitude also helps him get more performance out of the car every weekend. Explanations.

“It is very natural. I’m a pretty laid back person. If I have to maintain this intensity all weekend, I will burn energy unnecessarily. I prefer to be myself, have fun, try to enjoy the weekend, the atmosphere and try to joke if I can. »

“But I thought about it, and especially when I arrived at F1, I thought: Man, should I try to be intense all the time? I would not talk to the pilots. I would not give them a thumbs up and show any weakness. I thought, “I do not want friends,” and you go through all that, but it just did not come naturally to me. I guess I would have lost if I had tried to be too hard off the field. “

Daniel Ricciardo’s smile is nevertheless uncertain in F1, a sport which today is still one of the most dangerous in the world. The McLaren driver says he thinks about it every time he performs an apparent routine, yet oh so meaningful gesture before each session.

“There has always been something quite symbolic … to me, the race car is obviously a weapon. I like it, but it’s a weapon too, and it’s dangerous. I have always respected the vehicle. I think when you put the helmet on, it’s a symbolic gesture – not only is the helmet a reminder of the dangers involved, but it’s also a time to ignore everything else. »

“It automatically leads me to where I need to be; I’m in competitive mode. »

How to hold on morally?

How do you keep that mental? To keep smiling?

Daniel Ricciardo first evokes the importance of good memories, moments of joy. Starting with his greatest career joy: his victory in Monaco in 2018, a redemption after being deprived of a deserved victory in 2016 due to a disastrous pit stop.

“Two years ago, it was really taken from me with a very slow pit stop, which was obviously out of my control. And those things also happen in racing, but I felt really robbed that day. I wondered if one day I would have the chance to win Monaco. So finally to win it: I was very, very proud and happy. »

But Daniel Ricciardo also evokes his precious victory in Monza, so beneficial to his morale last year.

“I did not think so, she [la victoire de Monaco] would be surpassed because the magnitude of this victory was so great. But after the road last year went by, it was really the first time in my career that I was in doubt. So overcoming these difficulties and winning Monza, the first year with a new team where no one expected me to do it, all that … I would say Monza is the moment I am most proud of. »

Finally, it is not only the good memories on the track that are useful for holding on morally: Daniel Ricciardo evokes a somewhat controversial, but nonetheless crucial aspect in the preparation of drivers, sleep.

“It’s definitely an important time, but it’s more and more important as I get older and develop in my career. »

“But that’s not how it works when you get older. And of course with this job, jet lag, time zones, the intensity of the races, the pressure and everything that goes with it, sleep becomes so much more important to stay healthy. To remain active, because we must be active in our sport, if I may say so myself. That’s really important. »

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