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McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo returns to the top of Formula 1

In autumn, Daniel Ricciardo arrived at Italian Grand Prix in Monza, the home race of the arch-rival of McLaren, ferrari. He was not the same pilot


In autumn, Daniel Ricciardo arrived at Italian Grand Prix in Monza, the home race of the arch-rival of McLaren, ferrari. He was not the same pilot who had been crushed throughout the spring: “I reached the second part of the season,” he recalls Daniel Ricciardo, “with a slightly more carefree attitude.” His plan was simple, and fit for the Honey Badger: “Let’s run and have fun, be a badass and don’t think too much”, he told himself.

So far this season, 11 of the previous 13 races had been won by Lewis Hamilton or by the eventual champion Max Verstappen. no one expected that Daniel Ricciardo won only one race. Even, he didn’t even believe it was possible.

And then he qualified for the Grand Prix Secondly. And then he overtook the leader, Max Verstappen, entering the first corner of the race. Coming out of the second corner, you couldn’t tell, but Daniel Ricciardo he was smiling broadly behind his helmet. Still, no one expected him to actually finish first. He didn’t either, at least not at the time. But after enduring pressure from Verstappen during the first stint After the race, the 32-year-old pilot began to believe in himself again: “I told myself: ‘No one is going to take this race away from me’”. After a clean pit stop, Ricciardo’s belief became a certainty: “You have these moments where you really feel insurmountable. There is a kind of conviction and struggle,” he explains. “As soon as we made the pit stop, I said to myself, ‘There’s no chance anyone can beat me today. It just won’t happen.’”

What happened next, of course, was the end point of a redemption arc so perfect that Drive to Survive he spent half a season giving him credit: Daniel Ricciardo won, leading Norris in a final of McLaren from one to two. On the podium, he made a great effort, the first in almost a year. What the cameras couldn’t see was what happened next, the Australian too exhausted to go out on the town to celebrate, lying on the bed of his motorhome, staring up at the ceiling and laughing like he was a kid who had just won a racing trophy. karting.

“The year was tough”, he says, “but the victory confirmed many things for me. There were times when I wasn’t sure if I loved this sport, that kind of thing, and after the glory I was like, ‘No, this shit means a lot to me. Today I have shown it. I’ve shown that I can still do it.’”

In that rare and beautiful moment of intimacy, Daniel Ricciardo he began to feel something he hadn’t felt in a long time: “good, positive, changing emotions,” as he puts it. “I don’t want to say that she was crying, but she almost could have cried with happiness.”

Article originally published on GQ Hype US.