Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that the bombardment he gets from the press makes him hate his home race in Australia.
The Australian GP at Albert Park has become the season-opener for F1, making it a must-watch race for F1 fans around the world.
That buzz should make Ricciardo even more excited when added to the the fact that it’s his home race, but it turns out that is far from the truth.
“I was very frustrated, angry and bitter after Melbourne this year,” Ricciardo said on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.
“I felt like I’d been worked to the ground all week, accepted every request and tried to please everyone.
“My first race with Renault was sh*t, it didn’t work out, I did the media afterwards and then I’d kind of done everything that week and yet still there were people like ‘oh why didn’t you speak to us?’
“There’s a level where they don’t understand what I’ve done and what I’m going through, and as a sportsman anyway having a low sometimes you just need some space and privacy.
“They don’t always get that, and I feel bad saying they because it’s not all of them, and it’s not only in Australia you get it in other places around the world.
“But at some point you’ve got to be selfish and this is how I said it: ‘do you guys want me to do 1000 interviews and keep all the newspapers happy this week and have a shit race?’ Or would you rather I said no to a few things but had a great race?’
“Then they can all write something good about me or whatever, at some point the racing has to be more important.”
Asked if he will approach the 2020 Australian GP in Melbourne differently, he said: “Yes, 100%.
“Because the truth is I don’t enjoy it, and I want to. I’m not saying I can never enjoy it, the objective is to start enjoying Melbourne and the last few years I haven’t because there’s too much on that weekend.
“I try to please everyone and don’t please myself, so I’m getting takeaway every night and I’m sitting in a room, I’m not getting out.
“Melbourne is one of the greatest cities in the world, I love it and I really want to enjoy it, but unfortunately I haven’t been [able to].
“So I want to change it. Your home grand prix should be your favourite one of the year, so that’s what I want it to be.
“It’s good that the attention is there, it’s positive, but I’m there to race, not to be on the front page or the back page of the newspaper.
“I think that would happen if I get a good result, so let’s take it for that.”
Ricciardo also revealed that it’s difficult for him to have his “freedom” when returning to his home town of Perth, Western Australia.
“It’s a pretty big city now, but still a small town mentality and the reality is not many famous people, so to speak, have come from Perth,” he explained.
“So I guess you’re a bit of a big fish in a small pond and naturally you’re going to get recognised when you go out, I love Perth and I love being home, but it’s hard to go out with friends, especially now with camera phones.
“It’s hard to feel like you’ve completely got you’re freedom, and I get that, and 99% of the time people if they do come up [to me] it’s friendly and it’s fun.
“So it’s not negative at all and something I think I’ve got to appreciate and understand.”