Daniel Ricciardo admits his final race with Red Bull came to a lonely end as he finished fourth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ahead of his move to Renault next year, Ricciardo led for a number of laps as he ran long before pitting for supersoft tires to try and mount a late charge for victory. Rejoining in fourth place, Ricciardo was unable to make significant progress against Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen ahead of him, ensuring he ended the year without a podium outside his two race wins.
“It wasn’t the most exciting race,” Ricciardo said. “It was fun, but (the first stint) put me out of reach with the leaders, so I don’t know if we had much of a choice. I don’t know if we had many other options. We could have pitted earlier and kept track position. It’s always hard to know.
“I don’t think anyone thought (the tires would hold up) — Lewis pitted really early and probably didn’t think that would go to the end so strongly. So it was all right, just a bit helpless at the end. I couldn’t really do much. The pace advantage initially was strong. And then it fell away quite quickly. We probably just weren’t quick enough.
“The initial thoughts are just a bit of… I would have loved the podium, so I can’t be ecstatic with fourth. But as a whole the time (at Red Bull) was good, some amazing memories and a lot of things I’m sure I’ll reflect on in a few hours. But now initially … I was a bit lonely the last few laps. So, couldn’t really do much more.
“A third and fourth for the team is solid. We close this chapter now, so thanks to Red Bull and the whole Red Bull family. Would have loved to have drank out of my shoe, but we’ll see…”
Although his final grand prix after five years racing for Red Bull is over, Ricciardo will still spend time with the team ahead of starting initial work with Renault before Christmas.
“The next week I’ll close everything off with Red Bull, be a few days at the factory, then the following week start to initially know a few people at Renault. Then go home to Australia and switch off for a bit. It’s been a long season. So, looking forward to going home, talking to the sheep and cows on the farm and not doing a whole lot for the first few days. They get me.”