Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that some Renault staff members were in awe of the Aussie when he introduced himself to them on his first visit to Enstone in 2018.
Ricciardo announced his departure from Red Bull and transfer to Renault during F1's summer break that year. At the time, the move was heralded as a bold decision by the seven-time Grand Prix winner and a high-profile and expensive choice by Renault.
But during his first days on the job with the French outfit, Ricciardo came across staff members who were "intimidated" by his presence or importance as he recalled while reminiscing about past moments in his F1 career in a recent interview with Optus.
"It’s something you kind of try to ignore or never want to admit," Ricciardo said. "Of course, it’s not the case with everyone, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t noticed that on occasions.
"I think one actually was when I went from Red Bull to Renault. It was the most high-profile move of that season and I think quite a few people at Renault probably read too many articles and headlines, and it was a bigger deal for them with me coming.
"So I felt like [on my] first day at work, people were just shy to even say ‘hi’ to me.
"If I went to go and introduce myself, that would take them back, like, ‘why is he talking to me? I’m not that important’. You could just tell some of them were really in their shell."
Ricciardo recalled how the encounters sometimes left him feeling uneasy. But in the end, the current McLaren driver just decided to stay the course and be his friendly self.
"I felt bad because I was like ‘I’m not trying to overpower you, I’m just trying to be nice and start something’. You do feel it sometimes," he added.
"I think the best way to break that is to be authentic, to be yourself and just to let them know you’re just like them. You’re a human and we all have feelings.
"We also all just have a passion and a love for the same thing, so that’s pretty cool."
Over the course of his two-year-stint with Renault, Ricciardo scored 22 top-ten finishes, including a pair of podiums at the Nürburgring and at Imola.