Daniel Ricciardo says he will only grow stronger following the “most intense and challenging” Formula 1 season of his career so far.

The Red Bull driver emerged as an early contender after winning two of the opening six rounds of 2018 but a string of reliability-related issues plagued the second half of his campaign and resulted in him slipping to sixth in the championship standings.

Ricciardo ended his Red Bull tenure with a fourth-place finish in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ahead of his surprise switch to Renault next season.

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Asked if he found 2018 one of the hardest of his career in a Red Bull Q&A, Ricciardo replied: “One hundred per cent yes. Absolutely.

“Even purely on the results, but then with everything else on top of that.

“There’s the contract stuff, the high of Monaco, the low of the DNFs - it’s been by far the most intense and challenging season I’ve ever experienced.

“Mentally it’s tested me, but I feel it’s only going to make me stronger down the track.”

Ricciardo singled out his remarkable charge to victory in China as being a perfect example of summing up his “rollercoaster” of a season.

“I think it sums up the rollercoaster the year as been,” Ricciardo explained.

“All the highs and lows, frustration and joy rolled into one. I remember on the podium on Sunday I was holding in a lot of my emotion because it just plays with you. It does.

“But then, to come out of that weekend, I wasn’t just proud of what I’d achieved, I was very proud of the team and proud of everyone who helped me get to that point on Sunday afternoon.

“Also, I heard that the move to take the lead of the race was voted overtake of the year, or something like that. So that’s pretty cool. Big weekend for sure.”

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