ABU DHABI — Daniel Ricciardo says he will be in attack mode for his final race with Red Bull.
Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is Ricciardo’s last before switching to Renault for 2019 — he will start from fifth on the grid. The Australian had a strong start to the current campaign, with wins in China and Monaco, but has not been back on the podium since the latter in May having suffered the lions’ share of Red Bull’s reliability issues since.
When asked if he was prepared to risk a bit more to work his way back to a farewell podium, he said: “Yes, well I’m always prepared, so I’m not going to say I’ll take more risks than I normally do. I’ll try. Nothing to lose.
“But I have not had anything to lose all year, so … for once we will try get a strong start, and just attack, put pressure on, and be relentless. Sometimes cooling down is good for the tires. But I’m just going to try and put pressure the whole race and hope for a mistake if I’m behind one of those guys.”
Ahead of the weekend, Ricciardo wrote in The Players’ Tribune that he was expecting a tearful send-off at Yas Marina. He says he has managed to keep the emotions in check so far this weekend.
“I’ve been able to enjoy it. It hasn’t been crazy busy. I’ve certainly had busier weekends this year. So, it’s been cool. I’m definitely trying to enjoy it, but I’m also not getting caught up too much in it because I still have a job to do and I want to keep that kind of fire as opposed to emotion.
“I’ll certainly let it hit [on Sunday], I’m looking forward to that feeling on the grid with all the boys. I’m sure we’ll do a group photo. I’ll probably say something on the radio to get them fired up. Once it all settles there will be a bit of emotion.
“Also, what is helping me not think about it is that I’m not retiring. If I was retiring it would be different story. But I’m just moving next door.”
Ricciardo admits the focus around his imminent departure has helped put into context the fact he’s only moving teams rather than leaving F1 for good.
“It has certainly made me realize that I’m not ready to retire cause the way some people have talked about it I’m like ‘I’d hate to be retired’. Just ready to say goodbye and do a good race, finish strong, try and have a good chat on the radio and say some funny s— so they can miss me more next year!”