Daniel Ricciardo insists he is not “upset” by those suggesting he may be past his prime in Formula 1.
The Australian has been on the grid for over a decade now, although his early promise – especially at Red Bull – is yet to have delivered more than seven wins.
Not just that, 31-year-old Ricciardo has most recently been associated with his struggles to get up to speed at his subsequent teams, Renault and now McLaren.
However, he is now starting to shine in orange.
“The McLaren is just very different from last year’s Renault. The difference between those two teams is greater than between Red Bull and Renault,” said Ricciardo.
“The hardest part is that I am having to change the style of driving that I’ve been using for many years.”
When asked if it has been difficult to keep his composure amid the 2021 critics, especially as Lando Norris has been generally ahead this year, he insisted: “I don’t pay attention to what they’re saying or writing.
“But at some point, some unflattering comments will filter through. Generally though I am my own main critic. An article or two here and there doesn’t upset me.
“I’m only bothered when I’m not in the best shape, but that’s when talking to Zak (Brown) or Andreas (Seidl) helps me. They’ve said ‘Relax – the season has just begun. We know you’re a talented guy’.
“In these situations you need faith in yourself. I’ve won races and titles wherever I’ve raced before and I always manage to find a solution, figure it out.
“Of course I want to get there faster, but I’m not worried,” Ricciardo said.
That said, Ricciardo cannot rule out the possibility that his career will end without having achieved his goal of being world champion.
“I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of it,” Ricciardo is quoted by France’s Auto Hebdo. “I have never doubted my ability, but I know enough to know that in such a competitive sport, there are no guarantees.
“I haven’t changed my goal, but it’s true that I might not get another ten years in Formula 1. I’m still confident in myself, but not enough to bet my house on winning the title. I know how this sport works,” he said.