Ricciardo held Ferrari talks before agreeing to join McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo admitted he held discussions with Ferrari before committing to McLaren from the 2021 Formula One season.

With Sebastian Vettel and the Scuderia failing to come to terms on extending the four-time world champion's contract beyond this year, Ricciardo was considered one of the frontrunners for the seat alongside Charles Leclerc.

The Australian endured a dismal first campaign at Renault, while his second is yet to begin with the coronavirus pandemic delaying the season until July.

However, he opted to cut ties with the French team and, despite having talks with Ferrari, signed for McLaren, with Carlos Sainz leaving them for Ferrari.

"There have been discussions [with Ferrari] already from a few years back. And that continued all the way through to now," Ricciardo told CNN.

"So yeah, I won't deny that. But obviously it's never really come to fruition."

Asked why he has not joined them given his Italian heritage, Ricciardo replied: "I don't know actually and I've never really chose to dive too deep into it.

"Everyone says it would be a good fit, obviously, with my name and all the background stuff, but yeah, I try not to get emotionally caught up in any kind of situation.

"I see how Carlos is a fit for the team. So I don't really look at it like, 'Why not me?' I just look at it: Yeah, Carlos had a very strong 2019. Yeah, he's a bit of hot property right now, and I guess it's a good fit for where they are at."

The 30-year-old has won seven grands prix and been on the podium 29 times and thought hard about what his next step was going to be.

Ricciardo said: "I guess no decision is ever black and white. And I can't actually give you a black and white answer. There wasn't any moment, which was like a light bulb and said, 'Yes, that's what I need to do.' Equally, there wasn't something I saw in McLaren, which created that or there wasn't something in Renault, which created the moment of, 'I have to move on.'

"The discussions with McLaren go back to even before, I guess, 2018, and I guess continued over time.

"Obviously it's not an overnight decision. I guess to compare as well the two I don't think that's fair."