Daniel Ricciardo has spoken fondly of former Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel’s support as the Australian comes to terms with sitting out the 2023 Formula 1 season.
The pair drove together at Red Bull in 2014 before Vettel left for Ferrari and Ricciardo said the German was the first person to pick up the phone when he was cut from McLaren with a year still to run on his contract.
“He’s picked up the phone a number of times this year and was just a friend who cared and reached out like a real friend would,” Ricciardo told media at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
“Having friends like that is so important.
“But it’s also not that common when you see the field of (drivers). We all get along and you build friendships, but to have such a deeper level of friendship, and let’s say some of the gestures he’s made this year, and some of the kindness he’s shown me were kind of unexpected. But yeah, just super nice. Just super, super nice.
“I don’t want to single him out because there were other drivers, but he was the one who picked up the phone and spoke up quite a lot.”
Ricciardo has just two races left in the papaya before vacating his seat for Aussie rookie Oscar Piastri, who will partner Lando Norris in 2023.
The eight-time race winner has conceded he will not have a seat on the grid next year and is yet to have a definitive answer over his future in the sport.
Ricciardo is in talks with both Red Bull and Mercedes to be a reserve driver in 2023, with an eye to locking down a full-time drive in 2024. But nothing is yet set in stone.
Asked if he would consider a future outside of Formula 1, with a Supercars stint offered as an example, Ricciardo would not rule anything out.
“I guess I need to wait to see where I land next year,” he said.
“Obviously I’m talking about potentially a reserve role or whatever. Truth is, I haven’t agreed to anything or signed anything yet.
“Then it comes to a question of, what am I allowed to do, is one thing, but ultimately, if I feel maybe doing a one-off will benefit me, and keep me sharp or whatever.
“Then it’s something I’ll potentially look into.
“But I’m kind of like, F1 is so different to maybe a touring car or something, that I don’t know if it will kind of distance me more. So that’s what I would need to work out.
“So yeah, tough. I don’t want to say no yet to anything. But ideally, I’d get some days in an F1 car as opposed to trying to, let’s say, get a seat somewhere else.”
Originally published as Daniel Ricciardo on his friendship with former teammate Sebastian Vettel, sitting out 2023 season