Daniel Ricciardo mentioned he felt “good anger” within the days main as much as the Italian Grand Prix, which he believes performed a key position in his unlikely victory.
After a tough begin to his first 12 months at McLaren, Ricciardo ended the group’s nine-season watch for victory with a elegant efficiency.
Along with being McLaren’s first win because the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, it was Ricciardo’s first because the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix. Regardless of lofty expectations coming into this season, he had struggled for type at McLaren and till the Monza race had been outshone by younger teammate Lando Norris.
After qualifying at Monza, Ricciardo told the media he was angry at himself for qualifying fifth, behind Norris.
In the sprint race Ricciardo quickly overtook Norris and Lewis Hamilton en route to finishing third, which became second on the grid for Sunday’s main event once Valtteri Bottas served a grid penalty.
From there, Ricciardo never looked back, beating Verstappen to Turn 1 and controlling the pace of the race from that point. Norris would finish second, McLaren’s first one-two finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.
Speaking at McLaren’s Woking headquarters this week, during the team’s celebration event, Ricciardo said he was able to find a special level of performance.
“It was something hopefully not many can relate to! It feels primal,” Ricciardo said.
“But it’s why I do it as well. That is the other side. I don’t just say that to sound cool in front of the camera. It truly is just the other side to me.
“When it does come out it’s so powerful and I think that’s where, 2014, call it the breakthrough year, that’s where I got to show those emotions show on track and that’s why it became so powerful for me.”
Ricciardo said he was in a dark place after qualifying as he knew a win was up for grabs.
“From first practice the car felt pretty good, I was like, ‘Alright, we could be on here'”, Ricciardo said. “I drew more confidence from that. Friday evening I was so dark after the qualifying.
“Something in me, I was like… ‘I just don’t wanna be here anymore’, in terms of, I want to win. I want to be the guy. Being that close… it just fuelled me more than anything.
“The team said, ‘It’s a good session, you should be happy’. I appreciate relative to this year it was a good session, but just… I dunno. That’s where the competitor in me just really comes out. I can’t even explain it. It’s something like a burning feeling inside me that, nah, it’s not good enough. Blinkers on for the rest of the weekend.
“It’s easy to say now because I won but honestly there was something that came over me. Particularly after Friday evening. I guess I was a man on a mission.”
Having finally turned his form around Ricciardo is hopeful he will not need to dig that deep again to discover that level of performance.
“I don’t want to say I can’t get [to that place] again, of course I can. I just carried it all weekend. It wasn’t like I woke up on Sunday like ‘I’m going to win today’, there was something there for three, four days.
“I like that feeling. It kind of makes you feel alive.
“It’s kind of like a good angry, you take a lot of energy from that anger. After the weekend I don’t think I need to tap into that place all the time to get it out of myself. I drew a lot of confidence from that weekend.”
McLaren’s videos of the celebrations revealed Ricciardo added his trophy next to Ayrton Senna’s from the 1993 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide.
Ricciardo was at the event with his father and said it was a surreal moment to place his own trophy there.
The moment @DanielRicciardo added his personal piece of McLaren historical past to the MTC trophy cupboard. 🏆🥰
And he picked a spot alongside a really particular trophy. 👏🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/Umk6gu1I8H
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) September 16, 2021