Daniel Ricciardo made it to the end of his 100-race tenure with F1 Team Red Bull.
Equally as important, perhaps, he made it to the finish of a race when he crossed fourth in the final F1 race of the 2018 season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Yes, the eight retirements gave Ricciardo ample opportunity to rehearse his Red Bull retirement, but it should not be overlooked that he won two races, which if your name is not Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton, speaks volumes about the abilities of a driver who will take the wheel for Renault in 2019.
He also took the pole for one of his wins, the Grand Prix of Monaco. His other time at the front of the grid, well into the stretch that found him parking his car as often as driving it, was the Mexican Grand Prix.
Despite having a power plant that could only be described as underpowered by comparison to those of the Mercedes and Ferraris, Ricciardo four times turned in the fastest lap of the race, although that could possibly be attributed to the gap between the leaders and Ricciardo and the gap behind to the back-markers. Easier to go fast when the traffic is lighter, most everyone would agree.
Red Bull and Ricciardo managed to conclude their association with some degree of civility.
“The moment before the race with everyone in the garage showing their love and appreciation was really cool and that’s certainly something I will never forget,” Ricciardo said. “I thank the Team for the last five years and Red Bull for the last 10.”
Red Bull team principle Christian Horner was more measured, but also acknowledged that the second half of the season was hard on everyone at Red Bull.
“He (Ricciardo) had a really rough second half of the year but the majority of those issues were power unit related and out of our control,” he said. “It’s hugely frustrating but something we are hoping will be far less of an issue next year.”
Teammate Max Verstappen also bid adieu, when standing alongside Ricciardo, Verstappen tweeted, “It was great having you as a teammate on and off the track. I’ll see you soon, let the good times roll.”