Ricciardo: ‘Ticking brain’ and lack of sleep impacted performance

Daniel Ricciardo believes the inner-commotion generated by the stressful process of deciding his future likely impacted his performance last summer.

Ricciardo enjoyed a profitable start to his 2018 campaign, winning in China and Monaco and positioning himself before the summer as a genuine contender for the world title.

However, misfortune and reliability issues wreaked havoc on his chances thereafter, as the decision regarding his future in F1 simmered.

With a deadline looming, and the prospect of leaving the Red Bull family creeping in, the Aussie feels in retrospect that his dealings may have taken their toll to a certain extent on his performance in the races that preceded the resolution of his future, and his choice to switch his allegiance to Renault.

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“I feel like even if I was to, say, trip and fall over on the way to the car and scratch all my arm, by the time I got in the car it would be blacked out in my head,” he told ESPN.

“I guess what would have affect, which you probably don’t think at a time, is when you’re away from the track and instead of getting eight hours sleep a night, you’re getting six hours sleep because your brain is ticking, for sure this has some form of an accumulated affect.

“Again, I think I am stronger than that and when I get in the car I am sweet, I am switched on, but maybe it did take a little bit away from me without me knowing.

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“For sure there were nights where I didn’t sleep as I should have because I had a lot on my mind. Then that builds up and I was probably not as sharp as I once was.”

Evidently, a level a disruption set in for Ricciardo, fueled by his frustrating time on the track coupled with his difficult contract dealings.

Looking back he reiterated his belief that 2018 was without doubt he’s most difficult season to date in F1.

“Even if you ignore the results there was so much going on around it, highs and lows,” he admitted.

“Some of the DNFs were crazy but then the same year there was the high of Monaco and stuff like that, so it’s a weird one.

“It was definitely as intense a season as I’ve experienced, both before and after I decided what I was doing next year.”

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