Daniel Ricciardo says he plans to build up his “hunger” during Formula 1’s summer break before returning with a “positive bang” for the second half of the season.
Ricciardo has faced another difficult year at McLaren since joining in 2021 from Renault as he continues to be outperformed by team-mate Lando Norris.
In the first 13 races, Ricciardo has scored only 19 points to Norris’ 76, with his best finish of sixth coming at his home race in Australia.
On top of his ongoing struggles, Ricciardo’s future remains up in the air despite reaffirming his commitment to McLaren and F1 in a statement last month.
The Australian faces fresh competition from compatriot Oscar Piastri, who is believed to have held talks with McLaren over a seat for 2023, with reports suggesting Ricciardo has been informed by the team that it intends to replace him.
With F1 now on its annual four-week break before the Spa, Zandvoort, Monza triple header, Ricciardo hopes he can use the time to switch off and rediscover his mojo.
“To be honest, switching off normally gives me like a natural reset,” Ricciardo said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“To a point where I imagine in say 10 days, two weeks into the break, I would have kind of got the holiday out of my system, and then I’ll build that hunger back again.
“So I’ll naturally think about it, after getting time off. That’s normally how it works for me.
“Again, go out with friends, drink some beers, have fun. And then I’ll get to the point where I start to not feel guilty, but just like alright, time to turn it on again. And then it’s kind of a natural switch that will come back probably after 14 days.
“A bit like last year, [I want to] kind of start that second half of this season with a positive bang and just to get the ball rolling. The triple header, it’s intense.
“So I think come out and set some strong intentions. That’s the plan. Obviously, it’s easier said than done. But that’s certainly the plan.”
When reflecting on the first half of the campaign, Ricciardo acknowledged this year’s McLaren was one of the most difficult cars he’s driven during his F1 career.
“Certainly, one of the most,” he said. “I remember where in a race stint you could do 20 laps and you could stay within three tenths probably for a 20-lap stint at times, and kind of just be very in control.
“I feel like stint variation is a lot bigger this year. I’ll see what the other guys are doing. But maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s the whole field, but I’ll be surprised if you see someone doing like 0.1s, 0.1s, 0.1s. 0.2s, 0.1s, and so I think they are just more difficult to produce.”
Asked if he felt he was getting on top of the car, Ricciardo admitted there was still “some hurdles” for him to overcome.
“There’s some laps, which I’ll put together, and kind of make sense,” Ricciardo said. “And I’m like, that was sweet. But then a couple of laps later, I might drop four tenths or something, and then I’m like, ughh…
“It’s not so simple, like a dot-to-dot, there’s some hurdles before getting to the next dot. And so that’s a little complicated.
“I guess when it’s on more of a knife-edge or when there’s more variables, that’s where it starts to become that step more difficult.”