Renault Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo says that this season has been his most enjoyable since 2016, when he finished third in the world championship with Red Bull.
His last two seasons with the Milton Keynes were less fruitful, prompting a switch to Renault for 2019, but his first season at Enstone was blighted by a generally uncompetitive car that prompted him to sign for McLaren before the start of the delayed 2020 campaign.
However, Ricciardo has been a consistent point scorer this term, with two third places at the Nurburgring and Imola putting him into the top six in the standings while Renault is embroiled in a battle with McLaren and Racing Point for third in the constructors championship.
“I probably have to look back on it when it’s all said and done,” he said when asked if 2020 was his most rewarding year since 2016.
“But I think so far, yes. I mean, my enjoyment is really high at the moment.
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“I’m loving racing, and I think that was also heightened from the kind of lockdown and missing the competition for longer off-season.
“So having it taken away I think made my desire to come back obviously a lot a lot stronger.
“It’s been cool, and you’re probably right, 2016 was a really good year I remember with Red Bull, so this is probably the best, or the most satisfying, since then.”
Ricciardo said that his 2018 campaign – which included wins in China and Monaco – was “emotionally the most tough” as he came to terms with the realisation that the final year of the Red Bull-Renault alliance would not be capable of contending for the title.
“At the start of the year it looked like maybe I was bidding for a world championship, and then mid-year I realised that I wanted to move on, and then towards the end of the year it was DNF after DNF,” he said.
“So there were a lot of emotions that year, so to this day I think that was the most tough year for me emotionally, and how it played with me a little bit.
“Last year it was still fun, even though we didn’t really get the results we were after, it was still fun to try and build with a new team.
“This year it’s definitely been more fun, because that building has delivered some really good results.”
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