Daniel Ricciardo: F1 Testing Can Just Be a “Total Mindf**k”

Published 04/12/2021, 5:12 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Pre-season is done over a period of three days, drivers get to learn and feel the car as they zip around the circuit. The Honey Badger had three days of testing in Bahrain before the first race. He has stated that testing can affect a driver’s mentality as the teams don’t reveal everything.

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In his first race in the Papaya overalls, Ricciardo saw the chequered flag in seventh place, even though he had sustained damage due to a collision with Gasly. Meanwhile, his British team, Lando Norris, finished the race with an impressive fourth place.

In a few day’s time, the F1 grid will be at Imola for the Italian Grand Prix. McLaren will be hoping that both Ricciardo and Norris can extract everything out of the car and get a better result for the team.

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Daniel Ricciardo says a driver needs to focus on himself rather than the car during testing

In an interview with SquareMile, the 31-year-old said,  “A lot of the time, what car a team has at testing can sometimes be very different to what they bring to the first race. And that’s just because they’ve got parts in the wind tunnel that maybe aren’t ready in time for testing, but then are ready for the race.”

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 14, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“Even if you’re a few tenths off in testing, maybe you’ve found that before the first race, or vice versa. Basically, it can just be a total mind f**k if you think too hard about it, therefore, just focus on yourself,” Ricciardo concluded.

Ricciardo happy with McLaren debut but thinks he can improve

In the post-race interview after the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ricciardo said, “I would say if I [take] the weekend as a whole, I’m pretty happy. But if I just focus on the race itself, I struggled quite a bit in the race actually. I couldn’t really extract the pace form the car and when I did, I could do it for one or two laps and then it would quickly drop off again with the tyres and the balance, so I just didn’t feel like I had a good race performance or race package.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

He added, “I made plenty of notes through the race of what I [was feeling in] the car and where that was holding me back, so I’ll give feedback, I’m sure they’ll give feedback to me and we’ll come to Imola in better shape. But I think if seventh is a poor race, we’re looking alright!”

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The next round of the season takes us to Imola for the Italian Grand Prix. Can Ricciardo improve on his form behind the wheel of the McLaren and help the team score points? We will get our answers by next weekend.

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Arpit Gomes

636 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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