Daniel Ricciardo talked about his famous ‘I never left’ radio message after the Italian GP, and revealed who that message was actually directed at.
Ricciardo won the Italian GP in stunning fashion, taking a race win after three years. It was redemption day for the Australian after having a season of struggles, and the F1 community collectively joined him in the celebrations.
During his in-lap, the McLaren driver said on the team radio, “Deep down I knew this would come, so thanks for having my back. And for anyone who thought I had left, I never left. Just moved aside for a while.”
The rest of the season continued to be lacklustre for the former Red Bull driver. However, in a bid to clarify what he had said, Ricciardo talked about his famous ‘I never left’ radio message, and revealed his true intentions behind that sentence.
“I appreciate that message was going to be directed at, I guess, people who maybe thought I’d checked out, and that I was on my way out or a little bit washed up or whatever,” he said, as quoted by Planet F1.
“But still, first and foremost, that message was for me because there were times when I did lose a bit of faith and second-guess myself, like ‘why am I struggling so much? Do I have now a bit of fear that I’m not pushing the car as much?’
“I knew I didn’t. But still, when things aren’t going well, some of these questions pop up. So the ‘I never left’ was also for me to be like ‘I can still do it, I still belong here’. And anyone that forgot, forget no more.”
“Maybe that was bad, because then it was probably even more head-scratching that I was in a way going backwards over the next course of races,” he continued.
“But I think the second half of the season went better. I got the win and confirmed a lot of stuff to myself.
“I’m happy where things are. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy.”