Daniel Ricciardo needing to be ‘at one’ with McLaren MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo needing to be ‘at one’ with McLaren MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he needs to find more, as he continues to work at becoming one with the McLaren MCL35M.

As the 2021 Formula 1 season has progressed, we have some slow but steady improvement from Daniel Ricciardo. As the new McLaren driver continues to chip away at getting the best performance out of the MCL35M.

It has taken longer than both Ricciardo and McLaren would have liked for the Australian to start adjusting to the car. With younger and less experienced teammate, Lando Norris, blowing him out of the water to date.

However, while his teammate may be dominating him at the moment, it is easy to forget that Norris has had three seasons with McLaren. With fairly similar carry overs and driving characteristics of the cars from year to year.

Ricciardo meanwhile, has been thrust into a car that has significant balance and braking differences compared to his previous cars at Renault and Red Bull. That being said, he has admitted he still has work to do to be ‘at one’ with the car as Norris is.

“It’s still definitely at times frustrating,” Ricciardo said to Motorsport.com. “But I’m probably past the point of being frustrated, I think now it’s kind of a reality that I’m still needing to find some more and just be at one with the car. That’s probably the best way to put it.

“So I guess it’s not anything new for me now. I know and I’m aware that it’s probably still gonna be a process.

“I didn’t panic at the beginning, but I was aware that I was losing ground, and I was just trying to understand where am I losing and what is it that I need to help me get you know those three or fourth tenths a lap more.”

Ricciardo has taken noticeable steps in the right direction over the last two races at Austria and Silverstone, something he will be looking to carry forward into the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix.

Fifth place at last weekend’s British Grand Prix was also his highest finishing position since joining McLaren. But, while he is starting to trend back on and upwards trajectory, he is aware of the fact he is lacking on track pace compared to Norris. An aspect of his driving that needs to be rectified.

“I’m definitely happy on paper, or happier, with the first top five of the year,” he said. “And Lando getting another top five, so it’s obviously good points for the team. I know Ferrari obviously a good strong weekend as well.

“I think there’s now just still some underlying pace. It’s strange because you’d think on one lap is where I would maybe lack more, when you really push the car on the limit, and maybe the race when everything settles down I’d have a bit more.

“But we’ve kind of seen the opposite this weekend. On the race when the car is a bit on fuel and starts to move around more that’s where I’ve still got to dial it in a bit more. I think just the feeling and being able to really put the car on that knife edge I’m not able to do as consistently yet.