Daniel Ricciardo admits Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ‘could possibly be’ last-ever race

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Say it isn’t so Daniel Ricciardo!

The Aussie F1 star’s future has been up within the air because it was introduced he was leaving McLaren a yr sooner than contracted to clear area for countryman Oscar Piastri.

Linked to drives throughout the grid, Ricciardo admitted in October he wouldn’t be driving in 2023 and rejected a suggestion to maneuver to System E or IndyCar.

As an alternative, he needs a yr off and a return in 2024, as he has been closely linked to a transfer to Mercedes or Purple Bull as a reserve driver.

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However whereas Ricciardo’s view is firmly on 2024 and whereas his optimistic angle has him specializing in a future within the sport, he’s admitted earlier than the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix he might not be capable of make it again.

“Mentally I’m not treating it prefer it’s going to be my last-ever race – nevertheless it could possibly be,” the 33-year-old conceded.

“I do know that nothing’s assured sooner or later, so I’m going out to take pleasure in it.

“I’m not going to get too, let’s say, emotional concerning the thought that, ‘oh, is it the final one or not?’.

“I do need to take pleasure in it and take it for what it’s.”

As for his 2023 function, Ricciardo has continued to be coy on the topic.

“Progress is being made, we’ll see,” he mentioned.

“Hopefully you may see my attractiveness once more subsequent yr to a point!”

Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt believes Ricciardo will be part of Purple Bull as its reserve driver and model ambassador for 2023 as he seeks a return to the grid for 2024.

The transfer turns into extra intriguing after final weekend’s race uncovered some stress between world champion Max Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez.

Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris did seem to present a clue the Aussie was set for a task in F1 as he shared his disappointment at his departure.

“I’ll miss that probably the most, working so intently with a man like Daniel, a man I’ve had so many laughs with and I’ve discovered a lot from on the similar time,” Norris mentioned.

“Altering teammates shouldn’t be a foul factor or a pleasant factor, nevertheless it’s at all times an enormous change.

“It’s at all times a disgrace going away from somebody as a result of I really feel like I at all times construct good friendships with my teammates and good relationships.

“However Daniel is Daniel, everybody loves Daniel.

“I’ll miss him as my teammate – however I received’t miss him as a result of he’s going to be within the paddock subsequent yr.”

If it’s the finish, we’ll at all times have Monza.

Ricciardo’s time at McLaren has had the excessive of his eighth Grand Prix win at Monza in 2021 when he and Norris went 1-2 in a surprising boilover.

However pleasure has been arduous to return by for Ricciardo in papaya as Norris has dominated the Aussie throughout each seasons.

The ultimate race of the season nonetheless has lots driving on it for McLaren because the crew sits 19 factors behind Alpine for fourth within the constructor’s championship after neither Ricciardo or Norris completed final week’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

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