The Australian’s performance and results have been way below the bar set by teammate Lando Norris
By Yuri Coghe
Daniel Ricciardo’s start to his McLaren career has been nothing short of disappointing.
While his younger teammate Lando Norris has been able to collect three podiums in nine races in the season so far, to sit fourth in the standings with 101 points, the former Red Bull and Renault driver has only earned 40 points.
Speaking to the German publication Auto, Motor und Sport, Ricciardo explained why he still hasn’t been able to show the best version of himself as a member of the British team.
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“At Renault, I immediately felt that I could keep my old driving style, but that I just had a bit less grip than with the Red Bull car. Compared to McLaren, the differences with the car are a bit bigger,” said Ricciardo. “It has its strengths and weaknesses, but somehow my normal driving style doesn’t quite match the car. It could be the braking or acceleration, but the car doesn’t react like I’m used to”.
The 32-year-old Australian driver achieved season-high results in Imola and in Barcelona, finishing sixth at both races. While lacklustre, his efforts have been enough to help McLaren stay ahead of Ferrari and maintain third in the constructors’ championship.
“That’s why my move to McLaren has been a little more challenging than the move to Renault,” he added. “The first step was to find out what made my driving style not work in all the corners and only then could I start working on new techniques to master.”
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McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said the outfit is disappointed, just like the driver himself, but believes Ricciardo’s best is yet to come.
“I don’t think he (Ricciardo) imagined it would be so difficult to change teams,” said Seidl to the German publication RTL. “He’s disappointed and so are we. Because we thought it (the adaptation) would be faster … I am still convinced that at some point it will click with him.”
“He’s still a great friend of the team, still a great driver. I’m sad to see him having the struggles he’s having at the moment but I’m sure he’ll come through them.”
Ricciardo debuted in F1 in 2011 for the Hispania/HRT team. He drove for Red Bull satellite team Toro Rosso the following two seasons, after being ‘promoted’ to Red Bull Racing in 2014 to replace fellow Australian Mark Webber. He won seven races in his five seasons for the Austrian team before signing with Renault for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.