Daniel Ricciardo said that he’s “enjoying” the challenge of overcoming his current troubles, rather than getting himself down about how he’s been performing.
The McLaren driver has been largely out-performed by team-mate Lando Norris all season so far, which has left him and team CEO Zak Brown disappointed to a degree where Brown admitted there are “mechanisms” in which Ricciardo can end his contract a year early.
He’s due to stay with the team until the end of 2023 at the earliest, but the eight-time grand prix winner has been spending time recovering from another difficult weekend in Monaco, while spending a chunk of time at the McLaren factory in the simulator and holding meetings between race weekends.
Ricciardo has only scored 11 points so far this season compared to 48 for Norris, but he says he’s relishing the challenge of trying to prove other people wrong and prove to himself that he can show what he can do.
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“Part of me loves it. Like, that’s the truth,” Ricciardo told Formula1.com ahead of the weekend about wanting to answer his critics.
“Because I mean, one thing I love about this sport and I think trying to get to the top of something, you’re always going to be under the spotlight – and there’s always going to be that attention, that pressure, and when you can execute under those circumstances, it’s one of the most powerful and rewarding feelings.
“So I know that there is obviously chatter and let’s say certainly some noise at the moment, but for me, it’s like, a good reason to in a way like push back and just to remind people, but first and foremost, like remind myself that I can still do it, so I have no doubts.
“So yeah, it’s fun, and I have no issue with people talking because I haven’t really done anything spectacular this year. So I know that it comes with the territory but deep down I still know what I’m capable of and I look forward to showing this hopefully sooner rather than later.
“I like the doubt, it’s like creating this nice little fire inside me, so I thoroughly enjoy it.”
Ricciardo has only earned one points finish in a race so far this season – taking P6 at his home race in Australia.