McLaren F1 Boss Reveals His True Feelings About Ricciardo’s Struggles

Published 07/10/2021, 3:48 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Renault Sport F1 looks on in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


The Austrian Grand Prix brought in the third podium of the season from Lando Norris and double points from Ricciardo. This made it a better-than-usual situation for McLaren. The disappointments that plagued Ricciardo from the qualifying session were soon dampened as the master-overtaker did what he does best. However, these little bursts of success don’t live up to Daniel Ricciardo’s full potential.

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With the Aussie trying to get a hang of the car, team principal Andreas Seidl shares his dismay. “He’s disappointed and so are we. We thought it would be faster.”

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during qualifying REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Seidl hasn’t given up on him yet. “I am still convinced that at some point- it will click for him.” Daniel’s form of driving differs from Lando’s. Ricciardo’s problem lies in the fact that the Briton’s techniques are better suited for the car than what he is used to. The first nine races of the season have been a long trial-and-error procedure for Ricciardo. however, with the minor improvements he is making, there might be hope for the Honey Badger.

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Ricciardo and the MCL35M

When Ricciardo first joined Mclaren, many assumed that his teammate, Norris would have tough competition. Ricciardo entered the McLaren garage with 7 GP wins and 31 podiums. to everyone’s surprise, the numbers have remained the same. Things went off-script when Lando started pulling in the points and bringing in the champagne.

It’s difficult to hear the disappointment in the ever-lively Aussie’s voice, as time after time he has failed to perform in the qualifying sessions. after nine races, his best result has been P6. however, in true Danny style, he doesn’t let it get to him. When he joined the team, he knew he’d take time to settle in, but not this long. “When I drove the car, I said to myself, ‘OK, it’s a different one’.” It doesn’t end there. He also noted, “I’ve had to adapt a few things with y driving style to help the car. I’m still trying to get on top of that.”

Ricciardo also didn’t have time to test out an old-spec McLaren before he made his debut. His first experience of the car was at the shakedown-which offered him almost no learning experience. Then came pre-season testing. he had 1.5 days with a car that had a new floor to keep up with new rules and new tires. Daniel had to learn about the car while on the track. It’s no wonder DR3 is faltering in performance.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Third-placed Daniel Ricciardo of Renault drinks out of a shoe as race winner Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes pours champagne over his head on the podium after the race Pool via Reuters/Miguel Medina

For him, and his boss, it’s only a matter of time before things go right. We know this because in his 11 years of racing and driving for five teams, Ricciardo knows well that he takes time to get used to the new office. In his second year with Renault, he brought home two podiums and didn’t finish outside points for a majority of the races. The upcoming race in Silverstone has the team’s hopes up, with Daniel confident after his result in Austria.

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Shreya Sanjeev

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Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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