Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he did speak to Mercedes about a Formula 1 reserve driver role for 2023 but leaned towards joining Red Bull after talks “stalled”.

Ricciardo will return to Red Bull next year five years after his departure from the team, taking on a third driver role after deciding against driving for a midfield outfit.

After losing his McLaren seat to countryman Oscar Piastri, Ricciardo publicly declared he would not be on the grid in 2023 and thus began talking to teams over a reserve role.

The eight-time grand prix winner never denied he had spoken to Mercedes before his move back to Red Bull, and admitted joining the Silver Arrows was appealing until talks died down.

“So there were talks with Mercedes as well, and I was also, let’s say, appreciative of their engagement as well, because there was certainly an appetite for that,” Ricciardo told the In the Fast Lane podcast.

“It kind of stalled a little bit, and then the Red Bull stuff started to make more and more sense and had more and more legs, and then it naturally progressed as it did.

“There was a part of me as well where of course even when I was at Red Bull, Mercedes was always the team. Of course they were always dominating, it was a team I was looking at and whatever.

“I had some conversations with them back in the day, and to have a few more now was nice. Again, it was nice just still to be valued by some top teams after the couple of years I’ve had.”

Ricciardo admits he was a “little surprised” by Red Bull’s interest after his on-track struggles during his two-year stay at McLaren.

“I was very also appreciative of them giving me the time, because they don’t owe me anything. So there was just something there,” he added.

“I was probably a little surprised, like, they seemed as excited as me.”

Once the Red Bull deal was on the table, Ricciardo said the main attraction of accepting the offer was returning to a familiar environment after his failed stints at McLaren and Renault.

“When the Red Bull thing became more serious, it made more and more sense,” he explained.

“I also thought, I’ve obviously jumped around a bit in the last two years, and maybe a bit of familiarity would be good for me, to just go back and work with people I’ve worked with before and obviously a car — I appreciate the cars have changed now — that I gelled very well with.

“Just kind of jumping back and thinking about going to the sim work and doing all that, it just felt like, ‘alright, this is probably the environment that will just settle me in best and make me figure out what’s the next step beyond this and what I really want after 2023’.”

Ricciardo is clear he only plans to attend “a handful of races” in 2023: “I obviously had to present my ideas as well to the team and say, ‘look, if you’re going to drag me to 24 races, then that’s not going to work, because then I may as well just race again’.

“So it was never a conversation of going to every race, standing at the back of the garage. It was very clear as well that I’m not a reserve driver from 12 years ago when I hadn’t had the experience that I have now.

“I’ll do a handful of races, maybe around six, eight. Hopefully not more than eight. So that’s kind of where I’ve tried to set a little bit of a boundary.

“And then sim work and then obviously the marketing side as well. You know, Formula 1’s doing this. The platform is huge, and that’s obviously where I can keep my name out there, but obviously Red Bull as well could use a good-looking cat like myself to push them!”