Daniel Ricciardo continues to struggle taming the McLaren MCL35M, however ‘more forgiving’ circuits on the horizon have given him a boost in confidence.
Still struggling to come to terms with the balance and setup characteristics of the MCL35M, Ricciardo is playing second fiddle to his younger and less experienced teammate, Lando Norris.
The chief reason for the Australian’s apparent lack of consistent performance, comes down to his driving style not being transferrable to the MCL35M.
Ricciardo has previously stated that there is usually a transition window when moving from one team to the next. And, he did in fact experience similar difficulties during his move from Red Bull to Renault.
However, while he has shown progress during some race weekend’s. There have been others where he has visibly appeared to struggle in the car.
“The frustrating thing is I kind of know what it needs,” Ricciardo said. Referencing what needs to be done in the MCL35M. “But it is just so hard to just get it right. And it’s just such a small window. So there’ll be a lap where I can do it.
“But to repeat that 55 laps consecutively or whatever, that’s where it’s hard. And I think that’s why I’m glad just to finish the race and keep trialling and erroring, and all that sort of stuff.
“So I’m looking forward to some open circuits, circuits that are a bit more forgiving of mistakes. And I think that’ll probably fast track my learning in a triple-header just to keep some rhythm.”
The last two races held at Monaco and Azerbaijan are notorious for being unforgiving street circuits. With little room for error, a slight miscalculation or lapse in judgement from the driver, can quickly see them in the barrier. As was the case for Ricciardo during qualifying in Azerbaijan.
In the barriers and out of Q2 😣
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 5, 2021
The move away from street circuits to more conventional tracks over the coming weeks will allow Ricciardo to continue exploring just what is needed for him to adjust to the car. Without the immediate danger of crashing out should he leave the track.
“I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m kind of excited to go to Le Castellet, and just get obviously a fairly, I would say, basic track to maybe get away with a few more mistakes on,” he continued.
“The kind of familiarity of that, and then I guess a doubleheader in Austria will hopefully make this kind of learning phase a bit easier. But it is what it is. It’s obviously on a knife-edge, and I’m just trying to get the most out of it.”
With a steady gap increasing between Ricciardo and Norris in the Drivers’ Championship, crunch time is fast approaching should he wish to challenge his teammate for the number one spot at McLaren.