A few weeks after Zak Brown stated that Daniel Ricciardo’s performance in 2022 was below the team’s expectations, another disappointing qualifying and race showing in the Monaco GP did not help matters for the Australian, as the pressure is starting to mount over his future in the team.
Ricciardo qualified in a lowly 14th on a track historically known for the importance of a good qualifying on Saturday. Speaking after qualifying in the principality with media at the circuit – including MotorLAT – Ricciardo clarified he has a contract in place to drive for McLaren next season, before quickly addressing that he doesn’t want to be “14th” as often as he is now:
“I do have a contract in place. But personally, I don’t want to be 14th, that’s not why I race, let’s put it like that,” said Ricciardo.
He added that he still fully believes in himself, which makes his bad results “hurt even more” according to him:
“I still, obviously, even after a day like today, have 100% belief in myself and ability. (That) probably makes the result like this hurt more.
“So that’s kind of where I feel or how I feel. It’s one of those things you just got to keep going. I would love to be in a different position, but I refuse to let it beat me down.”
The Australian also carried a curious acronym on his helmet during the Monaco GP – ‘FEA’ – which in English stands for “f*** ‘em all”. Asked about this, the eight-time grand prix winner explained it was not a message “directed to anyone” and just something to help him get in his “happy place” before an important session.
“I put it on my helmet in 2018 as well,” Ricciardo said.
“I like to use acronyms to pump me up. It’s honestly not directed at anyone, it’s something that I’ve said for a few years, and it just kind of gets me in my happy place.
“I think as well, as a driver, you put the helmet on and that’s also very significant of flipping the switch. It’s one of the last things I’ll see when I put the helmet on.
“So it reminds me to channel in and get into the zone,” he concluded.