'Little scared': Daniel Ricciardo's 'fears' for Monaco Grand Prix

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Daniel Ricciardo is excited for F1 to return to Monaco, but is fearful the reduced amount of fans will have an impact on the atmosphere of the sport's most glamorous event. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo is excited for F1 to return to Monaco, but is fearful the reduced amount of fans will have an impact on the atmosphere of the sport's most glamorous event. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Victory at the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the highest achievements in Formula 1, short of winning the championship - as Daniel Ricciardo would well know.

The Australian driver experienced the full range of highs and lows the demanding street circuit has to offer, with a bungled Red Bull pitstop in 2016 costing him victory before the ultimate redemption in 2018.

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That win would ultimately be his swansong with Red Bull, and the now McLaren driver, who resides in Monte Carlo when not travelling for the F1 season, is pleased a small percentage of fans will be allowed to watch the race live after it was cancelled in 2020.

However the race, which usually hosts a swathe of celebrities descending on the ultra-decadent Mediterranean coastline, will have somewhat less fanfare this year, with only 7,500 fans permitted each day and grandstands to be at 40% capacity.

"The track itself is so intense that I think that will always be a 10 out of 10," the Australian told reporters at a McLaren event presenting a new one-off livery for the weekend.

"The in-car stuff will have those highs. But the build-up, you're kind of walking through a crowd and the fans to get into the pit lane, into your car.

"It's already kind of chaotic before you get into the car so your heart rate's already up and then the circuit's going to do the rest for you. Maybe there'll be a little more calm before the storm."

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Ricciardo could not deny the atmosphere at Monaco was a significant part of the allure of victory in the principality, where a majority of F1's drivers reside.

"I am like a little bit scared to not get too excited," Ricciardo said.

"It's that atmosphere, it's like the whole aura of boats and everyone, people on the track at the end of the day drinking and partying and I guess not having that or to that level will probably feel a little empty.

"But for the in-car stuff we'll be OK."

Daniel Ricciardo backs reigning champ for Monaco victory

The first four rounds of the F1 season has seen an intriguing championship battle emerge between reigning Mercedes champion Lewis Hamilton, and Red Bull charger Max Verstappen.

The pair have duelled on track in each of the four races, with Hamilton holding a slight edge in the championship after wins in Bahrain, Portugal and Spain, while Verstappen put in a superb drive to finish first at Imola.

Hype has grown surrounding what has so far been the first serious title challenge Hamilton has faced from Verstappen, but Ricciardo said the Briton's race record so far this season showed why he was a seven time world champion.

Daniel Ricciardo is hoping to improve on his season-highest finish of 6th at the Monaco GP. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo is hoping to improve on his season-highest finish of 6th at the Monaco GP. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

"We knew for a long time that this was a little bit a matter of time for Max. We all know what his talent's like," Ricciardo said.

"A lot of people are properly tipping their hat to Lewis.

"He's getting it dished back at him and he's holding his ground and showing people, maybe who doubted him, what he is and why he is as good as he is."

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