Daniel Ricciardo wasn't sure if Mercedes interest was genuine
Daniel Ricciardo says he had a hard time figuring out if Mercedes' interest in signing him for 2019 was genuine or not, but the lack of a direct answer led him to sign with Renault.
Ricciardo shocked the F1 world when he announced a deal to race for Renault, with many expecting him to either stay at Red Bull, or switch to Mercedes or Ferrari, with both having shown some interest in the Australian.
However despite discussions, mostly with Mercedes which was pondering whether to replace an underperforming Valtteri Bottas or renew his deal for another season – a decision they finally took after Ricciardo signed with Renault – the 29-year-old admitted he couldn't wait any longer as he was unsure if the Mercedes talks were serious.
"I knew talks would take a bit of time probably and again, trying to feel each other out, but it got to June/July and maybe we had spoken a few times and we hadn't really got anywhere," Ricciardo told ESPN.
"I guess on one hand I had teams that really wanted me, and then on the other there were teams that were kind of half the foot in the door but not really... so Mercedes and that.
"At times it was confusing for sure, and obviously you're trying to figure out what is real and what isn't, who's genuine and who is not. Again, that was exciting, but it does keep the mind ticking a little bit.
"I guess it gets to the point like that with everyone where you want a black or white answer and that's it. I guess the games can wear a little thin."
Ricciardo said the experience had taught him a lot which would come in handy if he ever needs to negotiate with another team in the future.
"These are all things I will learn [from], and I am sure there will be another time in my career where I will need to go through this process again. I am sure there's things I will do differently. I don't necessarily have any regrets, it's all just a learning process."