Daniel Ricciardo says the pain of last year's frustrating campaign forced him to learn from the experiences and improve his mindset and driving as he returned to the top step of the podium for the first time since August 2014.
The Red Bull driver feels his struggles throughout 2015 with both the RB11 plus its unreliable and underperforming Renault power unit have been vindicated having enjoyed a rapid return to form this season.
Ricciardo held off Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen to clinch his first win since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix at Sepang after Lewis Hamilton's engine blew while he had been leading.
While choosing to savour the win after a two-year drought – having also experienced the frustration of a near-miss in Monaco when he lost a win through a pit stop blunder – Ricciardo has outlined lessons picked up from his difficult 2015 campaign.
“The first half of last year I wasn't prepared for it I guess,” Ricciardo said. “I was a lot more optimistic about how the season was going to play out, so the first half of 2015 was a bit of a kick in the guts. It was the first time in a while that we struggled to get podiums last year.
“I think the last six months of last year were for me a lot better, I found another part of my driving which, in more difficult situations when the car wasn't as I would like, I seem to find a way to drive around those problems more and to deal with it. I think that little thing that happened at the beginning of last year with us as a team, sucked at the time, but I think now I'm really seeing the benefits of it.”
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“I'm more appreciative of when we've got a good car and I feel I'm able to take it where it needs to be even easier. It's sort of made me understand I can still find enjoyment, you want to win every race but you can't win every race, even if you've got a Mercedes.
“I'm still able to find enjoyment in a fifth place, Monza for example, it was only a fifth but for me it was a great result and I feel I did everything I could so I was happy with that.”
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