Abu Dhabi: Australian ace Daniel Ricciardo says he has double motivation to finish off with a win at the season-ending twilight Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend.
This will be Ricciardo’s last race before ending a five-year partnership with Red Bull — and also his 100th race.
“It is a big weekend for me. End of the season, my time with Red Bull and then the 100th race … it sounds perfect for a win. It will be awesome to finish off with a win,” said Riccicardo, who earlier in the season surprised everyone in the F1 circuit with the news that he will be joining rival Renault from 2019.
“I like the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit. You normally like the track where you are fast on. I have always done well here and I don’t think I have ever not had a good qualifying here.
“So, it is a track where I had a good record. I love the last part when you go underneath the hotel and hopefully, I will do well,” said the West Australian, who was also of the view that the emotion of leaving and moving on will sink in once Sunday’s race is over.
“I think after the race, there will be some form of emotion. It is another chapter for my career. I’m excited and very excited for having a good weekend,” said Riccicardo, who replaces Carlos Sainz and joins the retained Nico Hulkenberg at Renault.
Despite the move, Ricciardo and Renault will have a lot of work to do ahead of the next season as Mercedes and Ferrari are way ahead currently when it comes to power.
“It will be a hell lot of a challenge and I know there will be a lot of work to do, but it is what I needed at this point of time in my career. Fresh start and fresh motivation and I’m very much looking forward to the new challenge,” said Ricciardo, who however will miss out on the pre-season testing that gets underway at the Yas Marina Circuit soon after the final race.
“No testing obviously, doing testing with Red Bull doesn’t make any sense. My contract actually with Red Bull is only finishing. So till it is change to Renault I can’t start; so holiday starts. “I will head back to Europe to finish off with Red Bull and then to Renault. No more driving after this weekend; it is my paid off,” said the 29-year-old. He said his most cherished moment with Red Bull came this year at Monaco Grand Prix which he won holding off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“The biggest win came actually this year. Winning at Monaco was something that I wanted to do for long. It was something that I had come very close [to winning] and I finally did it.
“This year, it came under typical circumstances and that wasn’t easy. So that was a very big moment. And actually my second win in Budapest in 2014 [was a big moment] because that one set a statement to my career. Those two moments were huge for me.”