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Ricciardo: A year ago, I was like, 'Could this be my last race?'

Ricciardo: A year ago, I was like, ‘Could this be my last race?’

Ricciardo: A year ago, I was like, 'Could this be my last race?'

Daniel Ricciardo insisted breaking his hand in Zandvoort did not take away from the positives of his 2023, as before that he had doubts he would even race again.

After losing his McLaren seat at the end of the 2023 Formula 1 season, Ricciardo found refuge at Red Bull as a reserve driver, but soon got another crack at racing replacing Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri.

But in the third race of his comeback, the Dutch Grand Prix, Ricciardo broke his hand in a crash during practice which meant he was out of the car for five races, Liam Lawson doing a great job replacing him.

Asked about the incident and the shadow it cast on his return, Ricciardo said, quoted by Formula 1’s Official Website: “I wish this never happened, because it was uncomfortable and painful and whatever.

“But now that it’s obviously done, I still look back on this year as a positive, because sitting here [in Abu Dhabi] a year ago, I was like, ‘Could this be my last race?’

“Genuinely, I don’t exaggerate when I say that, I really didn’t know; I honestly thought it was 50/50,” he insisted. “So to kind of have the year I’ve had – forget the hand, I just kind of feel a little bit… reborn again is kind of the right word. I feel just re-energised, I’ve definitely got a second wind.

“Even if I speak of the hand, for this not to feel like a setback probably speaks volumes,” Ricciardo claimed. “I could see how maybe some people would see that lame accident with high consequences like ‘yeah, maybe Daniel should just give it up, that’s probably just a sign that he should just call it a day.’

“But I never thought that, I never felt like that. So that was maybe even more power to the decision of trying to kick some butt!” Ricciardo concluded.

Despite his accident, Ricciardo was confirmed for the 2024 F1 season alongside Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, the Honey Badger not hiding his ambitions of replacing Sergio Perez at Red Bull in 2025.