Ricciardo: It's been my "weirdest" season in racing
Daniel Ricciardo says that 2018 has been his "weirdest" season of racing – thanks to his early season success, recent frustrations and decision to quit Red Bull.
The Australian's triumphs in China and Monaco earlier this year made him an outside contender for the Formula 1 title at the time, but since then Red Bull was unable to keep up with the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari.
Having elected to switch to Renault for 2019 over the summer, Ricciardo has admitted that he has never experienced such a season since he began competing.
"It's been the weirdest season I've had in racing," he said an interview with Red Bull's website. "Winning two of the first six races is probably the strongest start I've ever had to an F1 season.
"After Monaco, I was thinking that the season looked very promising, and that we might even be in with an outside chance of fighting for the title. I still feel I'm driving well and applying myself properly but for all sorts of reasons it hasn't really worked out since then.
"My confidence has never dipped – but my motivation and love for the sport has been a bit up and down – though I tend to bounce back from that pretty quickly."
Ricciardo's decision that he made over the summer to join Renault was one of the biggest surprises of the driver market silly season, but the Australian says what leaving Red Bull means to him will probably only hit home at the final race.
"It feels mostly real – but honestly, I think when the chequered flag drops in Abu Dhabi, and I take off the Red Bull overalls for the last time, that's when it's going to hit me," he said.
"It's not so much the 'moving to Renault' part, as it is the 'closing the book on this part of my career' bit. From an emotional point of view, that's when it's going to hit me.
"I've been wearing a Red Bull helmet for over a decade now. It's been a fun journey and we're certainly not splitting on bad terms. I'm ready for something new."
He added: "I'm going to be 30 next year and I felt like it was time for the next part of my adulthood. It may sound silly but, having been with Red Bull for so long, I felt it was time I made a decision for myself and put myself out there.
"It's been a very good journey with Red Bull but sometimes it has been very easy because everything is so familiar. It would be easy to slip into some form of complacency, get stuck in a routine. I didn't want that to happen. I wanted to challenge myself again."
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer
Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images
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