Ricciardo joined McLaren on a three-year contract at the beginning of the 2021 season. His season can only be described as lacklustre, with him struggling to recapture the magic of the Ricciardo of old.
However, for every low and poor result he suffered, there was one moment which made up for all that. At the 2021 Italian GP, the Australian took a race win after a long time and silenced his critics in the process. It proved very similar to Bottas’ race win in Russia, except the Finn proceeded to flip the proverbial middle finger on radio.
Ricciardo took a dig at Bottas while explaining his victory radio message, and said that he never had or meant any expletives in his.
“I think it’s from a movie where he’s like, ‘I never left, I just moved aside!’ or something, we would joke about that sometimes,” the McLaren driver said, as quoted by motorsport.com.
“But I guess the ‘I never left’ thing, it was part from that. But it wasn’t like I wasn’t planning it. I want to say I may have hesitated, because I didn’t want to be like Valtteri where it’s like, ‘to whom it may concern’. I don’t want it to be a sound clip to be like, ‘f*ck everyone!’”
Weight off his shoulders
“But I definitely felt like there was a lot of people who had written me off and also that weekend, something was over me,” he continued.
“Like, I wasn’t surprised with how the result turned out. Even like the fastest lap on the last lap. There was just a lot of stuff that I wanted to just put out there and I was like, I just wanted to make a statement.
“So in the end, it was ‘I never left’ but the whole weekend, I felt like every day I was making some form of statement to myself at least.”