Though Daniel Ricciardo admits that he does miss being on the podium, he still sees it as “a bit of fame” and “TV time” at the end of the day.
Ricciardo, a seven-time race winner, has been relegated to fighting for ‘best of the rest’ status in 2019 after leaving Red Bull to join Renault.
P4 in Monza has been the highlight, and even though he knows that result would have been better if he had a trophy and champagne to show for it, he says the feeling of knowing that he’s done the best he can is good enough for him.
“It’s really just about the outcome of the weekend. I’ll always leave a racetrack happy and fulfilled if I know I’ve got everything out of it,” Ricciardo explained to Autosport.com.
“Yes I won’t lie, that is heightened by taking home a trophy or a bottle of champagne, but there’s also been podiums I got where I wasn’t actually completely satisfied with how I drove.
“So a podium isn’t everything, but for sure if you’ve done the best you can, and you do take something home, that’s better.
“The high will never be as high, and finishing fourth in Monza was a huge result, but I still wasn’t standing on the podium. So I’m not going out and running around the streets naked!
“But as far as my personal fulfilment that’s really meeting everything I need if I leave the race knowing I got everything out of it.
“It’s probably just a bit of fame and TV time with a podium, but I think you know within yourself if you’ve got everything you can.
“It’s enough for now, in the position I’m in.”
One thing that Ricciardo has found with being in the midfield is that his lap-one racecraft has improved.
“It’s tight and at times frustrating,” he said of starting down the order. “Because a tenth puts you three or four spots back. When you get that tenth, it puts you three or four spots forward.
“And it feels like a real battle. I think most of the time the person who’s best of the rest feels like they actually won something over the weekend.
“It’s been good, it’s been fun. The only thing that I wouldn’t say sucks a little bit, but isn’t as fun, is that you’re more likely to get caught up in first lap incidents, being right in the middle.
“That’s the only thing which is a little bit, I won’t say out of your control, but you’re put in that position a bit more often than I was in the last few years.
“But it’s also allowed me to work on my lap one racecraft.
“I think my racecraft in general and my overtaking through the race isn’t bad, but my lap one stuff, now starting in the midfield, there have been times where I haven’t made the best decision into Turn 1, and after the fact I’m ‘I could have done that better’.
“So I’m learning, being in the midfield, and that’s cool.
“I don’t want to be here forever, but it’s a new skill I’m learning a bit which I didn’t have to do for the last few years.”