EXCLUSIVE: Ricciardo ‘not scared about retirement’ as he has say on Hamilton

Daniel Ricciardo says being on the F1 sidelines has left him feeling comfortable about the prospect of retirement, though he has no plans to hang up his helmet any time soon. 
EXCLUSIVE: Ricciardo ‘not scared about retirement’ as he has say on Hamilton

After losing his McLaren seat at the end of last season, Ricciardo returned to Red Bull as a third driver for 2023 and had been playing a supporting role to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez


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But the 34-year-old Australian is now preparing to make a sensational return to the F1 grid, replacing Nyck de Vries at Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri with immediate effect. 

Speaking four days prior to the announcement at the British Grand Prix, Ricciardo exclusively told Crash.net that he would accept a drive with AlphaTauri if it facilitated a full-time Red Bull return. 

Asked if he sees himself retired as an F1 world champion five years from now, Ricciardo chuckled: “Oh shit yeah, that would be cool!” 

EXCLUSIVE: Ricciardo ‘not scared about retirement’ as he has say on Hamilton

Ricciardo proceeded to provide a fascinating insight into his mindset about retirement as he considered the decision made by Nico Rosberg, who sensationally quit F1 days after beating Lewis Hamilton to his maiden world title in 2016. 

“If I am a world champion, I don’t know if I’ll be retired, because that would mean that things are going well,” he continued. 

“But then I do look at some sports, I follow UFC a lot and a lot of fighters do stay a bit too long and their career kind of tapers. There is something kind of cool about going out on top. 

“Then I look at [Nico] Rosberg and I get it, but it also felt like maybe one year too early. So it’s hard to find that balance. 

“If I was to win a world title next year, no I wouldn’t retire. But if I was to win one in five years, maybe then I’d be like ‘that’s a great way to sign off’.”

It is a dilemma that now faces Hamilton. After controversially missing out on a record-breaking eighth world title at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Briton has been unable to challenge Verstappen for the world championship. 

Since Mercedes’ failure to successfully grasp new technical regulations that were introduced in 2022, Hamilton has not been able to add to his incredible tally of pole positions or race wins, with his last victory remarkably coming at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. 

Despite Mercedes’ competitive struggles, the seven-time world champion is set to extend his contract in his ongoing quest to bow out of F1 having surpassed Michael Schumacher’s record.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers' parade. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, British Grand Prix,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers' parade. Formula 1…

“I think this is the case with many athletes, and I’m not saying this is the case with Lewis or anyone else, but in general, I think there’s a lot who are probably scared of retirement,” Ricciardo said when asked about Hamilton’s situation. 

“When you’ve lived on this awesome, euphoric level for so long, the thought of losing that is maybe scary. And I understand that. As long as that’s not the thing stopping you from retiring then you are okay. 

“If you are kind of hanging onto the sport because you are scared of what happens next, then that’s where it’s maybe it’s like it’s getting a bit long. 

“I think that’s one thing where, speaking of me personally, this year I feel a lot more comfort about the day I do officially retire. I’m not scared about retirement. 

“I’ve had a really fun year, I’ve done things. Life after racing is totally good and I’ve got other hobbies and interests. I don’t think that’s a daunting thought for me. 

“But it’s important, especially for young kids coming up. Of course you have to put your heart and soul into the sport, but try to have something or create something beyond racing so you don’t feel like a fish out of water. Life advice!”

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