McLaren Left ‘Scratching Our Heads’ After Losing F1 Pace ‘Overnight’: Daniel Ricciardo

Published 06/26/2021, 11:29 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Styria, Austria – June 26, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the Steiermark Grand Prix REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger


Daniel Ricciardo cannot seem to catch a break at the moment. Just when it seemed the Australian turned a page at the French Grand Prix, his struggles returned to the Styrian mountains this weekend.

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Although Ricciardo put in decent lap times during practice, he finished a lowly P13 in qualifying earlier today. Ahead of Sunday’s main race, the 31-year-old summed up his torrid Saturday in the Red Bull Ring.

Daniel Ricciardo admits he didn’t expect to finish P13 in qualifying

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Although Ricciardo isn’t in his best form, he finished an impressive P6 in the previous race in Le Castellet. In addition, he finished P2 in the second practice session at the Styrian Grand Prix yesterday behind Max Verstappen.

Despite those results, the Australian could only manage qualifying 13th for tomorrow’s race. To add to his misery, his teammate Lando Norris not only made it into Q3 but qualified in P4. The Briton will start tomorrow’s race from P3 because of Valtteri Bottas’ three-place grid penalty.

After a disappointing qualifying session, Ricciardo believed his pace left McLaren scratching their heads. He said, “Just lost a lot of speed overnight.

“It’s not even quali, we were slow already this morning. We were quite a bit off. So, it’s another session which we’re little bit scratching our heads. It was a long way off, at times like a second or something.”

However, the Australian believes his performance on Friday will keep him motivated heading into tomorrow. “Yesterday was really strong and encouraging.

“Obviously, look forward to tomorrow now. But yeah, definitely didn’t expect to be here after yesterday.”

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Ricciardo: Felt like I was pushing it

Despite his poor result, the Honey Badger believes he pushed his McLaren MCL35M to the limit at the Red Bull Ring. He said, “I didn’t think we had the perfect car yesterday, but the lap time came.

“And today, I felt in some areas I was driving to the limit of the car. I couldn’t go faster because I would run off the track. So, I felt like I was pushing it.”

Formula One F1 – Formula One – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 3, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Although he starts from P14, Ricciardo will look to charge through the field in tomorrow’s race. In a midfield battle where every point is precious, McLaren will need the 31-year-old to score big points to stay ahead of their biggest competitors in Ferrari.

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Can the Australian regain his confidence with a strong finish tomorrow? Only time will tell.

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Sanket Nair

302 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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