Daniel Ricciardo believes that he lost sleep due to the frequent mechanical problems he suffered in the 2018 Formula 1 season, which compounded his on-track woes.
Ricciardo’s RB14 was hit by a litany of technical issues during the year as he failed to finish more times than any other driver.
The West Australian feels that those setbacks may have triggered a chain reaction which personally affected him and therefore his performance as a driver.
“Always when you rock up to a race, whether you’re tired or whatever, you are still like ‘I’m here, I’m going to put everything I can in it’,” said Ricciardo.
“Even if there are things on your mind, you can block them out in the car.
“But a lot went on this year and I’d probably be naive to think it didn’t affect me at some point.
“It’s not like I can pinpoint a moment and say ‘Oh, that race was bad because I had too much on my mind’; it was never something like that.
“But it’s draining when your mind is ticking over and instead of maybe sleeping eight hours, you’re sleeping six hours and an accumulation of that might slow down your reaction or your reflexes.
“I definitely won’t want it to sound like an excuse but I’m sure there’s been an effect to some degree, but it’s also part of the growing experience.
“I’m sure it won’t be the last time I’m in this position either where I have a lot of mechanicals (failures) or have got another contract to figure out, so I’ll just try and learn from it.
“I’ll certainly do some reflecting after this year and figure what I could have done better.”
While the latter topped the unofficial ‘Class B’ of F1 in fourth position in the 2018 constructors’ championship, it did so at 297 points shy of third-placed Red Bull.
The 29-year-old is hoping that he and incumbent driver Nico Hulkenberg can help Renault catch the big three in the championship.
“Nico’s experienced and he’s been around and I want to expect myself to become part of that team very quickly, have a presence in the team and be another source of push, fire and motivation,” added Ricciardo.
“I’m expecting to carry good work ethic and to bring the people around us to build on what they have.
“The driving I will always try to keep improving, but really (I want to) try to figure out the best way to bring the team to the next level.”