Emilia Romagna GP: Daniel Ricciardo Hints at McLaren Risking Q2 Knockout in F1 Qualifying

Published 04/17/2021, 2:18 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


After a very strong showing at the Bahrain Grand Prix, McLaren looked like the favorites going into the second race weekend of this season. But the hype seems to have died down drastically since both the McLarens hit the track on Friday afternoon. Daniel Ricciardo, in particular, looked nowhere near the comfort zone while in the car.

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While the last year’s podium-getter ended FP1 in P10, FP2 was much worse, as he could only manage P18. One might assume that Ricciardo, being a newcomer, is still trying to get a grip on the McLaren.

But what’s shocking is that even Lando Norris replicated a similar outing on Friday with P13 in FP1 and P8 in FP2. Hence, following the struggle-induced practice sessions, Ricciardo opined that there’s a lot of work to be done in the garage overnight to make it to Q3 “comfortably” on Saturday.

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What did Daniel Ricciardo say?

As reported by PlanetF1, Ricciardo admitted that McLaren were far from expectations in terms of pace throughout Friday.

We’ll work tonight. We’ve got our engineering debrief in a few minutes. So, yeah I think we’ll spend a fair bit of time trying to figure out what we were missing today,” Ricciardo said.

I think, to comfortably put ourselves in Q3 tomorrow, we do need to make some changes. We’re not really there yet.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 16, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in action during practice REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Saying that, it’s a cool track. I still had fun. But obviously, I want to find some competitiveness.

To add to McLaren’s woes, their threats, AlphaTauri and Ferrari, have looked in red hot form. Pierre Gasly, in particular, has been hitting the targets with ease and has stuck right behind the Mercedes duo throughout the afternoon, ending both the sessions in P4 and P3, respectively.

Hence, it looks almost impossible for McLaren to close down the gap to the two rival teams.

Saturday is very important: Ricciardo

The McLaren driver is aware that Imola offers little to no room for overtakes. Hence, the qualifying session will be possessing a much bigger priority than usual.

It is really tricky to overtake here. And we can’t afford to put ourselves too far in the pack after tomorrow afternoon,” he said.

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

So yeah, it’s all well and good maybe being a bit quicker on high fuel. But we certainly tonight – at least from my side, it’s definitely all the focus on one-lap performance.”

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Imola returned to the Formula 1 grid last year, and Ricciardo drove a brilliant race to gift himself a podium alongside the two Mercedes drivers.

So, with such a successful history, can Ricciardo manage to squeeze another podium out of the weekend?

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Rohit Kumar

627 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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