F1 star Daniel Ricciardo on leaving bitterness and 'what-might-have-beens' in rearview mirror

What to expect at the Miami Grand Prix (3:29)

Take a closer look at the track in Miami ahead of the inaugural Grand Prix in 2022. (3:29)

Daniel Ricciardo started the final lap of last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix title showdown right on the tail of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. What followed was one of the most dramatic moments in Formula One history, but Ricciardo, long regarded as one of F1's most talented drivers, wasn't part of it. He was a lap down, a spectator, later explaining how he had mixed emotions watching what unfolded on the final lap.

It would have been difficult to imagine Ricciardo not being the third part of that kind of championship scenario just a few years ago. His move away from Red Bull in 2019 is one of the great 'what ifs' of modern F1. That move was a key part of the first season of F1's wildly successful Netflix series "Drive to Survive," and Ricciardo is one of that show's bona fide superstars.

But it's hard to escape the feeling it all might have been so different for him had he stayed as Verstappen's teammate but Ricciardo makes a point of not dwelling on the past.

"It's just perspective, and that changes everything," Ricciardo told ESPN ahead of Sunday's Miami Grand Prix". "I think through doing it for so many years now, and just a bit of wisdom, maturity, and perspective, I don't beat myself up about it anymore.

"I know when I was 27 or 28 I would say in interviews, like, I'm running out of time, I'm not world champion yet. I was a bit bitter about it then. But I've kind of let that element go.

"In terms of just carrying that, I don't. I never wanted to carry an anger or bitterness, like 'oh man, I should have, could have, would have'. It is what it is. You just waste time and energy sulking about that stuff."

Ricciardo often delivers performances which remind F1 how good he is. His fairytale win for McLaren at last year's Italian Grand Prix had all the hallmarks of Ricciardo's Red Bull days, as he seemed to find another level as soon as a sniff of victory presented itself. It was his first win since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix.

It's hard to escape the feeling his moment to win a championship has passed. Ricciardo's been in F1 for over 10 years, having made his debut at the 2011 British Grand Prix.

He made a curious comment in F1's promo video for the new Las Vegas Grand Prix, joking in an attempted American accent: "I was gonna retire, but I will not no more!"

When asked about it he insisted it is not a prospect he has realistically considered.

"Black and white, it was a joke. That's like my humour," Ricciardo told ESPN.

He then pointed to Blake Friend, his business manager, sat across the McLaren motorhome during the interview.

"Blake sitting over there, I fire him once a week. 'Hey mate, you're fired' ... 'Yeah I'm gonna retire so you're not gonna have a job next year'. So I do like to take the piss."

But Ricciardo appreciates the fact he's much closer to the end of his F1 career than he is to its beginning, at the 2011 British Grand Prix and then full-time from 2012 onwards.

"I think going deeper into it, no, I'm not considering it or anything.

"But I'm also aware that I've done 10, 11 years now. Am I gonna do another 10 more? Unless I start winning every race and it makes a lot of sense, I don't have 10 more in me.

"So I'm definitely on the second part of it. I couldn't tell you now if it's three years, five years, whatever, but I'm aware that I can't see myself doing this at 40.

"I'm still passionate about the sport and I still want to do good in it, so that's it. It's as simple as that. You just pull back [the negatives]. I'm still enjoying it. The results aren't there yet. But a negative attitude isn't going to help me get those results either."

Despite not having the most competitive machinery, Ricciardo's star has been rising away from F1. The Australian was one of the first to realise the power of the Netflix 'Drive to Survive' series and was one of the focal points of the first season - Mercedes and Ferrari did not even take part at first.

Ahead of this week's race he appeared on Trevor Noah's Daily Show and earlier this year was one of four drivers featured in a Vanity Fair photoshoot, previously uncharted territory for Formula One.

For Ricciardo the opportunities away from F1 helps with the mindset of being content with whatever the rest of his career might look like.

"It's probably the one time I'll wear something like that! But it was cool," Ricciardo said of the Vanity Fair shoot.

"You can end up taking [shoots and marketing events] too seriously and they can become a bit of a chore, but that was fun. I enjoy that stuff.

"Like, I don't wake up every morning and put make-up! So it was fun to go through the process sitting there and being interviewed."

"I just laughed. Who would have thought racing would put me in this chair? It's a fun opportunity racing has created. I'm aware I wouldn't be doing this if I was doing a normal job. So just grateful I get to do it."

During the pandemic Ricciardo found the time to make his own wine in collaboration with St Hugo, called 'DR3'. It has become a passion project and the company just released the second instalment of the wine.

It's given him the chance to market another Ricciardo hallmark -- the shoey celebration. Ricciardo has made a habit when on the podium of pouring champagne into his race boot and drinking from it.

For the new range of wines this year, the company also released a limited edition glass decanter made out of a mould of one of his racing shoes.

It sold out immediately, but despite the celebration being so closely associated with him, Ricciardo was the last person involved in the company to think it was a good idea.

"Someone on this call came up with it and I just wasn't sure. Usually decanters are pretty elegant looking, not a man's boot, so I wasn't sure.

"Part of me was ... I don't wanna ruin the shoey! But once I saw it in real life I was like, sold!

"You just don't know if people are gonna say I don't want big boot sat on my table next to a bottle of wine. It's a big boot.

"But everyone loved it. It's funny."

Whether F1 fans get the chance to see Ricciardo doing a victorious podium shoey again remains to be seen, but it would be the sport's loss if the Australian driver never gets the equipment to challenge consistently for race wins.