The always smiling Aussie driver talked, during his briefing with the media on Thursday in Monza, about Safety, because of what happened in Spa - Francorchamps last Saturday and how he dealt with the terrible news that shocked the entire Motorsport community.
"I think I definitely felt better Sunday night after the race, in terms of just.. that felt like I released a lot of sadness, stress, emotions." Said Ricciardo, who closed the race in 14th position. "For sure Saturday night was.. questioning about if we should race, if it was the right thing to do. And also, I went through scenarios, like if I didn’t get in the car and feel like it wasn’t right or feel fear. I thought we shouldn’t do the race with that state of mind, so I went through a lot of what ifs. When I was into the car on Sunday it didn’t feel that nice, I didn’t want to be out there racing, but I wanted to go through and kept going. I did my laps to the grid and went past Eau Rouge, Radillon and I established the sadness and fear. Sunday night was good. I traveled back with few other drivers, we spoke, it was nice just to talk about it with other drivers. I think a few days in Monaco.. were normal days to reflect."
This is not the first time that Daniel has gone through this kind of feelings. The same happened with Jules Bianchi, who was injuried during the 2014 Suzuka GP and passed away in July 2015.
"With Jules, obviously it didn’t happen there, but it was already bad and it was actually the same in Suzuka that Sunday night. With other drivers, we were out together, having dinner and talking a bit about was already helping. I think just knowing the only other people are hurting and feeling the same as you, just talking about it helps. Unfortunately, with Jules time passes and you think the sport it’s getting safer, and then it happens again and when it does it’s a shock, because you do forget, more or less. We all knew, watching the race on Saturday, it was bad, you just have a feeling inside."
Ricciardo, like most of drivers, is trying to get back to normal.
"Racing is okay this weekend, I’m okay with that, I’m trying to go back to the routine, slowly getting okay with that, slowly move on like I guess we did with Jules. There’s no disrespect by moving on, but it’s all we can really do."
"It’s always difficult after an accident like this to not bring out the Safety again. Time passes and it hasn’t really been anything that makes us think 'this track now is a bit safer, let’s make it a bit more intense for us drivers'. But it’s a tough one, because I think with track safety is one thing and car safety is another thing. Track safety is really good at the moment, car safety has improved but it’s one of those ones when we are still driving and there are still opportunities and situations when we may be in dangerous positions, because that’s the sport, whether the car or the track. I haven’t look into the accident itself, the various dynamics. For sure there are things to improve on the cars, but also I think the impact was so big. Even if we make everything safe still traveling at this speed at some point it becomes a danger.
"Every time we go on track there is a risk, every time we hit a wall, whether we’re okay or not, it still plays something on your mind, if you crash every time you go back to that corner there’s something psychological there. It does have an impact, one way or another, physically or mentally.
The accident shocked the fans, but sometimes it's hard to understand that every crash is dangerous.
"It’s so hard because the fans, unless you race and put yourself in that position, they can never experience what we do. It’s like watching a boxing game: we cheer and say ‘it’s just a bit of blood’, but we’re not the one in that position and if we put ourselves in that position I’m sure we would act or respond very differently. It’s just the nature of being a fan. We can only ask our fans to respect not just the skills, but also the risk."
The Aussie is definitely trying to put gthe sadness away for the upcoming race:
"We made a lot of progresses this year, it gives us hope to race here. I’m certainly excited, it’s one I enjoy. I think it will be okay."