It was an emotional day for Daniel Ricciardo, as he raced for the last time for McLaren F1 Team in the 2022 FIA Formula 1 season at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Ricciardo saw his McLaren career come to an end as he crossed the finish line at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a respectable ninth position. This will be his last race as a full-time driver until at least 2024, with the Australian expected to take a reserve role next season at former side Oracle Red Bull Racing.
Ricciardo recorded McLaren’s first win since 2012, with an incredible drive in Monza that will go down in McLaren history, with Lando Norris making it a one-two. His final race today may have not been as memorable, but it was good final race for the Australian claiming points for the team and defending Sebastian Vettel on the last lap.
“I’m really pleased to get some points in my last race for McLaren. I felt like I did the best I could with the pace I had. I was struggling to keep the front tyres alive. That was the biggest limitation, that’s where it got a bit tricky.
“I felt in terms of moves, I defended when I could and overtook when I could, so from that point of view, I’m pretty pleased. Vettel caught me quite quick in the end and trying to hold him off I think I killed the tyres a bit, but I am happy to have held on and got the points.“
Ricciardo added a heartfelt thank you to the team that has supported him over the last two years, despite the difficulties this season in particular.
“It was a good end to the season. Big thanks to the whole team – they also put a nice message on the dash after the race, so that was cool. Appreciate that. We’ve had some high highs and some low lows but throughout it all I’ve enjoyed my time here racing alongside Lando and hopefully doing McLaren proud.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, Papaya army and everyone both trackside and back in Woking – I can’t thank you enough. It may have been my last race for McLaren but I’m looking forward to what comes next. I wish the team the very best for next season.”
Ricciardo will be sorely missed on the grid next season, with him being a fan favourite and a warm-hearted and likeable person.
Lando Norris: ” I’m very happy, the team did a great job”
It was another good result for McLaren’s Norris, who finished as the ‘best of the rest’ behind the top three teams’ drivers.
Norris rounded out the season with a sixth placed finish, ahead of Esteban Ocon who closed in on the British driver on the last lap. He also managed to secure the fastest lap in the race, an incredible achievement in a car that lacks pace compared to the three teams at the top.
Norris reflected on a good race for the team, with a double points finish to round out the season, with the British driver claiming he was very happy and that the team did a great job.
“P6 and a fastest lap, the perfect way to end a season. It was a tough race, I wasn’t far away from getting overtaken at the end, but we timed it well. We’ve always struggled a bit more with degradation, especially on a circuit which is front-limited, comparing to other teams, so we knew this was going to be a tough one.
“I tried to build a good gap, knowing this was going to be the case and we ended with a P6 and a P9 for Daniel. A good double-points finish and a perfect way to end the season, motivate the team and end with some good points. I’m very happy, the team did a great job.”