Daniel Ricciardo on the “primal” rage that drove him to win the Italian GP
Daniel Ricciardo said he felt “good anger” in the days leading up to the Italian Grand Prix, which he said played a key role in his unlikely victory.
After a difficult first year start at McLaren, Ricciardo ended the team’s nine seasons of waiting for victory with a sublime performance.
As well as being McLaren’s first win since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, it was Ricciardo’s first since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix. Despite high expectations this season, he had struggled for form at McLaren and until Monza’s run was overshadowed by young teammate Lando Norris.
After qualifying at Monza, Ricciardo told media he was angry with himself for qualifying fifth, behind Norris.
In the sprint race, Ricciardo quickly passed Norris and Lewis Hamilton en route to finish third, who moved to second on the grid for Sunday’s main event after Valtteri Bottas served a grid penalty.
From there, Ricciardo never looked back, beating Verstappen at Turn 1 and controlling the pace of the race from there. Norris would finish second, McLaren’s first double since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.
Speaking at McLaren’s headquarters in Woking this week, during the team’s celebration event, Ricciardo said he was able to find a special level of performance.
“It was something that hopefully not many people can relate to! It seems paramount,” said Ricciardo.
“But that’s also why I do it. It’s the other side. I’m not saying that just to look cool in front of the camera. It’s really just the other side to me.
“When it comes out it’s so powerful and I think that’s where 2014, call it the breakthrough year, it’s where I was able to show that those emotions are showing up on the right track and that. that’s why it has become so powerful for me. “
Ricciardo said he was in a grim situation after qualifying as he knew a win was up for grabs.
“From the first few tests the car felt pretty good, I was like, ‘Okay, we could be here,’” said Ricciardo. “I got more confidence from that. Friday night I was so gloomy after qualifying.
“Something in me, I was like… ‘I don’t want to be here anymore’, in terms of, I want to win. I want to be the guy. Being so close… it just fueled me more than anything.
The team said, ‘It’s a good session, you should be happy.’ I appreciate that compared to this year, it was a good session, but just … I don’t know. is something like a burning feeling in me that, no, that’s not good enough.
“It’s easy to say now because I won but honestly there was something that took hold of me. Especially after Friday night. I guess I was a man on a mission.”
Having finally changed his form, Ricciardo hopes he doesn’t have to dig that deep to experience this level of performance.
“I don’t mean that I can’t get [to that place] again of course I can. I just wore it all weekend. It wasn’t like I woke up on Sunday like, “I’m going to win today”, there was something there for three, four days.
“I love that feeling. It kind of makes you feel alive.
“It’s kind of like good anger, you get a lot of energy out of that anger. After the weekend, I don’t think I need to tap into this place all the time to get it out of myself. J drew a lot of confidence in me. from this weekend. “
McLaren’s celebratory videos revealed Ricciardo added his trophy alongside that of Ayrton Senna at the 1993 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide.
Ricciardo was at the event with his father and said it was a surreal moment to place his own trophy there.
The moment @DanielRicciardo added his own piece of McLaren history to the MTC Trophy Cabinet. ??
And he chose a place next to a very special trophy. ?? pic.twitter.com/Umk6gu1I8H
– McLaren (@ McLarenF1) September 16, 2021