Daniel Ricciardo opens up on panic after inconclusive COVID-19 test in September
Daniel Ricciardo opens up on panic after inconclusive COVID-19 test in September

F1: Ricciardo reveals 6am COVID scare

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed the "panic" he experienced after receiving an inconclusive COVID-19 test after the Tuscan Grand Prix in September.

Speaking ahead of the final Formula One race of the year in Abu Dhabi, Ricciardo said the result had "scared" him before he returned a subsequent negative test.

The Australian's revelation comes after seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was forced to miss the penultimate round of the year in Bahrain last weekend after testing positive for COVID-19.

"I did wake up one morning with a false positive or whatever they call it, so I had a scare at 6am one morning," Ricciardo said before clarifying: "It wasn't a false positive, it was inconclusive. But it still scared me though.

"Then trying to figure out, OK we've got to get tested again, there was a bit of panic and that wasn't fun.

"Obviously I was fine in the end, but that was something I had not gone through before and then you start playing games in your head like 'do I feel a little … maybe I do have it'.

"But that was a bit of panic one morning, actually."

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Ricciardo said he had been thrown by the initial result as he had been extra cautious about taking precautions with his health after Sergio Perez became the first F1 driver to test positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Silverstone Grand Prix in July.

Three drivers have tested positive for the coronavirus this year - Perez, his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll and Mercedes star Hamilton, despite the sport operating in a tight F1 bubble.

"As the season went on I became more and more disciplined with isolating and just taking care of myself, especially after Checo (Perez) got it and I thought, 'OK, this isn't a joke' so I was being very careful.

"So I was quite surprised. Obviously in the end I didn't have it, but I was scratching my head."

 

Ahead of his final race for Renault before making the switch to McLaren next season, Ricciardo reflected on his two years with the team and considered it to have been a "success".

Ricciardo has claimed two podium victories and finished in the points in all but three races this year with Renault.

"If I'm to generalise it, I would say it has been a success," Ricciardo said.

"I guess there are different levels of success, real success would be winning a title in the two years, but definitely stepping on the podium a couple of times made it feel like a success.

"I guess it's not like we fluked some good results, I really believed we were there and we persisted. There were so many fourth places and then we finally made it happen.

"But I think the turnaround as well, to see the step from last year to this year I think shows the work that was done last year, the building blocks definitely came to fruition and we got a lot of use from that learning out of 2019.

 

"I see it as a success from that point of view."

Ricciardo sits fifth in the standings ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi race and said he was determined to try and go out on a high with the team.

"It's nice that we've still got something to fight for, constructors and drivers' championship," Ricciardo said.

"I just want to go out and keep the nice Saturday record going strong … try and have a very strong qualy that puts me up on the grid and can challenge Checo (fourth in drivers' standings) who has been the guy, the front of the midfield for the last few."

rebecca.williams@news.com.au

Originally published as F1: Ricciardo reveals 6am COVID scare