Daniel Ricciardo says his testing final year with Red Bull will make him stronger as he prepares for life with Renault.
The Australian made a strong start last season and victories in China and Monaco put him in early contention for a title bid.
The 29-year-old failed to secure a podium finish after taking maximum points at the Circuit de Monaco, however, and reliability issues ensured he suffered eight DNFs – more than any other driver on the grid.
Ricciardo’s future was also the subject of speculation until August when he announced he would be leaving Red Bull for Renault and he admits the 2018 season was the toughest of his career to date.
It remains to be seen as to whether or not Renault will be able to provide Ricciardo with a car capable of challenging for the title next season, but he believes his final season with Red Bull has made him stronger regardless.
“One hundrer per cent, yes. Absolutely!” He told Crash.net when asked if 2018 was the hardest of his career. “Even purely on the results, but then with everything else on top of that.
“There’s the contract stuff, the high of Monaco, the low of the DNFs – it’s been by far the most intense and challenging season I’ve ever experienced.
Mentally it has tested me, but I feel it’s only going to make me stronger down the track.”
Ricciardo is 67.00 to win the Drivers’ Championship next season and his former Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen can be backed at 5.25.