The McLaren the driver is located replaced by Piastri for 2023after the youngster was caught red-handed by a team from Woking alpine.

Piastre’s signing came before McLaren agreeing to terminate the contract with Ricardomeaning he won’t see out the third and final year of his original deal.

Piastre’s case has reached the Council for the Recognition of Formula One Contracts and, amid the intensity of the difficult situation, Ricciardo revealed last month that there had been no contact with either the youngster or his manager Webber.

But when things settled down at the Dutch Grand Prix weekend and Webber was on site as part of his commitments to UK broadcaster Channel 4, Zandvoort had the opportunity to speak to Ricciardo.

It happened on Sunday, ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, and Ricciardo explained that Webber “felt bad” about the consequences of Piastri’s move, as he stressed that there was nothing personal about what happened.

“It is clear that we have not met in person [since it all started]”, Ricardo explained.

“I feel like he didn’t have to, but he felt like he wanted to, in a way, apologize and try to just see how I was doing.

“Obviously, I know what this sport is: it’s nothing personal to me. And he wanted to make sure I knew and understood that. And just to make sure I feel good.

“He feels very ill, obviously. [in] how it went down and obviously how it was presented in the media. So yeah, obviously it was nice to talk to him.”

Oscar Piastri, reserve driver, Alpine F1 team

Photo: Carl Bingham / Images of motor sports

As well as talking to Webber about the matter, Ricciardo also says he has spoken to Piastre one-on-one to also make sure his replacement knows there is no lingering tension.

“Honestly, I also spoke to Oscar and just made sure there were no bad feelings. I understand how it works.

“He’s trying to do this: he’s trying to get into Formula 1. And this moment must also be very important for him. I don’t want to make a bad situation for him.

“That’s it: nothing personal. That was the conversation. And I sincerely wish him well. I want him to do well in F1.

“That’s why the circumstances turned out that way, and that’s how it is. But I still obviously love and respect Mark a lot.”

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Ricciardo explained that he thought it important that he really get in touch with Piastre because there was a risk that the boy would feel that there might be some kind of tension between them if he didn’t explain his true feelings.

“If there’s no connection, you never know what someone is feeling or thinking,” he added. – Obviously, he is much younger than me. I don’t know how he feels: if he’s nervous, to reach out and see how I’m doing.

“I also wanted to make sure I understood his position clearly. And absolutely no offense.

“So it was good. I think he got better. And yes, I think the last thing he wanted was some weird tension between the few only Australians in the sport. So I’m glad we did it.”

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