[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] DANIEL RICCIARDO: PURE FRUSTRATION

Daniel Ricciardo heads into his final two Grands Prix with Red Bull Racing frustrated after a tortured campaign that began with so much promise.

The 29-year-old took two wins from the first six races, including a passing masterclass in China – where he despatched five drivers in eight laps, for an emotional first victory since Azerbaijan last year.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“A lot comes to your mind on the podium, and a lot of the struggles and the highs…  and you think about a lot of things, But to hear the anthem, I don’t know, it's just a massively proud moment.”

Monaco was the scene of his second win for the year, his seventh overall, and he had to nurse the car through 50 laps – following an MGU-K failure that cost two and a half seconds per lap… with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel breathing down his neck to the chequered flag.

The victory: payback for 2016, when a botched pit stop cost him the lead.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“It was a stressful race. At the time, it didn’t feel particularly sweet. But crossing the line felt amazing. And [it’s] redemption, that’s what I really feel it is. Two years in the making.”

But reliability has been dire this year. Ricciardo suffering eight DNFs in 19 races – more than anyone else – including four in six races. Austria, Germany, Belgium and Italy, where his clutch failed.

Mexico, though, was almost the last straw…

"I haven't had a clean race or weekend in so long,” Ricciardo said. “I'm not superstitious, but the car's cursed. I don't have any more words."

Naturally, the Australian’s comments came at a time of high emotion, but stopped well short of the hole he punched in his room in Austin following another DNF just a week earlier in the USA.

Next year will be at least another step back at Renault with limited chances even for podiums. And, while Ricciardo says that he’s mentally prepared for it, the French manufacturer has already managed his expectations.

SOUNDBITE (English) CYRIL ABITEBOUL,
MANAGING DIRECTOR, RENAULT SPORT RACING:
“We don't want to see frustration, or disappointment in his [Daniel’s] eyes for the next two years so I think we all feel motivation but also a bit more pressure.”

Ricciardo can only hope for better reliability in his final events for Red Bull, especially his milestone 150th in Abu Dhabi – as he seeks to complete his 10-year association with the brand on a high.