Defiant Daniel Ricciardo promises to "do business" after McClaren F1 uncertainty

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Many claimed his days in Formula 1 were numbered but Daniel Ricciardo will not be going anywhere.

The 33-year-old has already had to tolerate mounting speculation around his future at McLaren, as well as headlines stating he may depart F1 altogether. But like a Honey Badger – the notorious nickname attributed to the Australian for his fearlessness, ferocious driving style, and ear-to-ear smile – Ricciardo went on the attack, with an explosive message of his own.

Nevertheless, Ricciardo is still smiling and still motivated to "do business" for McLaren. However, his defiant stance has done little to qualm the constant rumours, particularly when IndyCar star Alex Palou was signed by McLaren on the same day Ricciardo so valiantly staked his colours to the mast.

READ MORE: Daniel Ricciardo "working my a** off" as F1 star issues defiant message over his future

"I have been in F1 for a decade now, but I have been in racing most of my life," Ricciardo said in an exclusive interview with Daily Star Sport. "You just get better at dealing with the external noise and you are able to flip the switch and be like 'okay let's address this, put that there, and now let's put the helmet on and do business'.

"I think that is something I feel personally, I have been good at doing, that 'when the helmet is on, do the business'. But of course it is always around us, before the race and after the race, we do so much media, so people will ask me about it [my future]."

Ricciardo is currently 12th in the 2022 drivers standings on 17 points. His ninth-placed finish at the Austrian Grand Prix was one of his best performances of the season, yet he was still two places behind McLaren team-mate Lando Norris. The Brit’s continued ascent in F1 has only heaped the pressure on top of Ricciardo, two years after he was tempted by McLaren to partner then-20-year-old prodigy Norris.

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However, Ricciardo has been down a similar road before. His 2019 move from Red Bull to Renault began with three retirements in his first four races. There was a fourth-placed finish at the Italian Grand Prix, but a frustrating debut campaign ended in ninth position.

He roared back in his second season, registering a fifth-placed finish in 2020, including an impressive 11-race scoring streak, but left for McLaren for the start of 2021.

“That experience certainly gives me confidence,” Ricciardo said when asked if he is using his time with Renault as motivation.

"Although I won a race last year (the Italian Grand Prix), which was massive and awesome, I haven't consistently shown the results that I've wanted to show. It’s been a bit more of a process and it has taken longer than it did at Renault.

"But knowing how it got, especially in that second year at Renault, certainly gives me optimism and all those things to know that I can do it. And also, I don't want to just rely on the win last year, but it was very powerful and it is good for me to look back on that and know that 'you can do this, so persist and it will turn around'."

His spectacular performance at Monza ended a nine year winless drought for McLaren. Nevertheless, those pesky rumours and uncertainty continue to descend on the Australian.

"I can't control it, it is as simple as that," Ricciardo added. "Someone once said to me 'control the controllables' and I can't control people's opinion, or anything like that.

"That's another thing which I have got better with through experience. You understand that, at the end of the day, people will say what they want and write what they want to write.

"Again, if I am clear in the head and I am like 'this is what I want to do and this is what I want to put all my effort in' then that’s all that should matter."

Ricciardo was speaking at the launch of the McLaren Turbo Series on PartyPoker, in association with McLaren Racing. The full McLaren Turbo Series schedule can be seen here.


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