Time at home offered Ricciardo much needed ‘escape’
By Mat Coch
Sunday 20th February, 2022 - 8:00am
A return home at the end of the 2021 Formula 1 season offered Daniel Ricciardo the “escape” he needed at the end of a long campaign.
Ricciardo had an up-and-down season, winning the Italian Grand Prix but otherwise largely overshadowed by team-mate Lando Norris.
The campaign was again COVID impacted, with F1 abandoning the Australian Grand Prix in favour of Qatar after initially delaying it from March to November.
With the world still in turmoil, it left Ricciardo without his usual family support network, something he confessed to Speedcafe.com that he missed during the year.
Following the post-season test in Abu Dhabi, the West Aussie returned home for the first time since the ill-fated 2020 Australian GP.
“It was big. For sure I guess powerful just to get home and get a hug from the family,” he said when asked by Speedcafe.com about the importance of his time on home soil.
“It’s a reset. It’s a mental reset. It’s kind of everything. It was stuff I’d looked for last year when we’re in the midst of COVID.
“So you can’t really go anywhere and then I kind of just wanted to get out for a bit because, you know, maybe a race didn’t go well or whatever.
“It was kind of the escape at times which I felt like I needed or wanted, and obviously to get four weeks back home over Christmas was great just to really switch off and catch up on life, catch up with family and friends.
“So yeah, it’s given me a little spring in the step now which for sure at times I needed.”
Ricciardo last week took part in McLaren’s season launch, with pre-season testing set to follow this week.
Spain hosts the first three days of testing beginning Wednesday, before teams move to Bahrain next month for another three days.
Bahrain also hosts the opening round of the year on March 20.