Daniel Ricciardo says last year’s struggles following a breakout 2014 season have seen him adopt a conservative approach for this year, which kicks off with next month’s Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Ricciardo’s star rose dramatically in 2014, when the Australian won three Grands Prix in his debut season at Red Bull Racing alongside teammate and reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel en route to finishing third in the world championship.
Last season, with Red Bull struggling with Renault’s engines and Mercedes streeting the field, Ricciardo could only manage two podium finishes, and finished eighth in the world championship.
Speaking to the ‘Keeping Track’ podcast, Ricciardo says last year’s disappointment has seen him adopt a cautious mindset ahead of the new campaign.
“You erase any targets in a way – deep down I know what my goals are, but you don’t set them right there in front of you,” Ricciardo said.
“It makes the approach in my mind a bit more conservative, but on the flipside, it makes you more hungry to get back to the success. I only had a couple of podiums last year, but when I stood up there, I really made sure I soaked up every second I was up on that podium. It certainly makes you appreciate it.”
Ricciardo says opening the new season at home is a privilege, and one that he never takes for granted, no matter how heavy his workload is leading into his home GP.
“The first year, you get in the car and you’re exhausted, and it’s only Friday,” he remembered.
“That’s managing the more stressful side of racing at home, but it’s awesome having all of that extra support to start the season there. It makes me even more motivated to get going and make sure I arrive in Melbourne in the right shape and in the right frame of mind.”
Ricciardo also weighed in on the subject of closed cockpits potentially making an entrance into F1 as early as 2017, while ‘Keeping Track’ also spoke to Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams ahead of the new season.
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