Daniel Ricciardo's 'painful' admission leaves F1 fans heartbroken

Daniel Ricciardo is pictured answering questions in his post-race interview at the United States GP.
Daniel Ricciardo was at a loss to explain his woeful performance in the United States Grand Prix. Picture: F1 TV

'Painful is an understatement' - these were Daniel Ricciardo's words after a torrid F1 weekend at the United States Grand Prix.

The 33-year-old's looming one-year hiatus from the F1 grid couldn't come sooner after finishing a lowly 16th, ahead of only the last placed Nicholas Latifi.

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Ricciardo's teammate Lando Norris once again left him in the dust as he claimed an impressive P6 finish, making matters worse still for the Australian driver.

Though he was linked to a shock return to Red Bull as a reserve driver next season, there was little for Ricciardo to smile about as he climbed out of his car after the race.

A low point in a season that has produced few highlights for Ricciardo, he said after the race that he simply had no explanation for his lack of pace.

“I have no idea what to say,” he said.

“Honestly it’s 2022, it’s been just so far off the pace that I simply can’t lean on it, can’t push, can’t get the time out of it.

“Also the inconsistency of the lap times it shows that it can really be a struggle but to have such a big margin again remains a mystery.

"I love Texas, I love Austin, but that race itself for me was not enjoyable.

“When you think it can’t get worse it does. I don’t know how I’m continuing to continue because painful is an understatement.”

Ted Kravitz of Sky Sports reported on Saturday at the US Grand Prix that Ricciardo has secured a spot as a reserve driver for next year.

Ricciardo has reportedly signed with a team for next season, but dismissed rumours had had done so with Red Bull, insisting he was still 'having conversations'.

Meanwhile, fans were left dispirited by Ricciardo's poor performance and his subsequent disappointment.

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The only two teams that take reserve drivers with them to every grand prix are Mercedes and Red Bull.

But according to Kravitz, Ricciardo won't be joining Mercedes.

“We thought Mercedes, because they now have a vacancy given that Nyck De Vries, their reserve driver, is going to Alpha Tauri," Kravitz said.

"I’m told it’s not Mercedes. So that only leaves Red Bull, the (only two) teams who have a reserve driver on hand at every race.”

Responding to the reports before the US Grand Prix on Sunday, Ricciardo denied he had put pen to paper on any deal.

Daniel Ricciardo is pictured with McLaren F1 teammate Lando Norris.
Daniel Ricciardo has been thoroughly beaten for pace by F1 teammate Lando Norris, prompting his exit from McLaren at the end of the season. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

"For now, everything is just rumours,” he told motorsport.com.

“Am I talking? Yes. But there’s no pen on paper or anything like that yet.”

Ricciardo reiterated his intentions to be back on the grid in 2024.

“I won’t completely disconnect from the sport, but obviously nothing’s guaranteed for ’24,” he said.

“Like, I don’t have a seat that I can say I’m definitely going to be driving.

“But I’ll still be around and trying to put work in to be back.”

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