Ricciardo: I still believe I belong in Formula 1

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Daniel Ricciardo's future as a Grand Prix driver is likely on the verge of being settled one way or the other, but the Aussie is sure about one thing: he still belongs in Formula 1.

F1's summer break kicked off with a band earlier this month with the news of Fernando Alonso's transfer from Alpine to Aston Martin for 2023, followed by Oscar Piastri's dismissal of the French outfit's offer to take over the Spaniard's seat, having allegedly signed with McLaren for next year.

The bustle and agitation in F1's the driver market has left Ricciardo holding the short end of the stick.

The McLaren driver has yet to comment on his future employment status, but in an interview with Aussie website Speedcafe just before the summer break, the 33-year-old expressed in no uncertain terms his desire to remain on the grid.

"There’s certainly a few things," Ricciardo said when asked what keeps him motivated through the difficult times such as the period he's endured at McLaren.

"Like, the competition – it has to be one of the only sports in the world where there’s only 20 people that are doing it.

"The competition is such like a small, 0.001 percent of a group. So to be able to not only be part of that group, but to compete inside that group, that’s such a unique thing in itself. And so I love that."

Despite his ongoing difficulties at McLaren since he joined the team at the start of 2021, Ricciardo managed to snatch an eighth career win in F1 last season at Monza, a triumph that came out of the blue.

And the Aussie believes that another twist of good fortune could be waiting "around the corner" on any given Sunday.

But first and foremost, Ricciardo is convinced that he still belongs among motorsport's elite, making the rewards well worth the risks.

"The truth is, the highs you get are just so high because so much goes into it," he explained.

"Of course you take risks, like to win a race for example, you haven’t gone for a Sunday drive; you’ve put it all on the line, the team has, you’ve pushed your body, mentally and physically.

"So then the high and the reward is pretty amazing and pretty spectacular. I could probably keep going, but there are a few things.

"I believe I still thrive off it because I still believe I belong [in Formula 1] and can do it. That’s what really gets me jacked.

"And the love of it, as well as knowing that any weekend that could be there, like it could be around the corner, you know.

"Monza last year, that was… you know, a week before in Zandvoort, no-one was predicting that, not even myself, so even just the thought of a weekend like that could be one week away, it’s pretty cool."

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