Daniel Ricciardo said it was ‘fair enough’ after receiving team orders to allow Lando Norris past in the Emilia Romagna GP.
It’s quite clear that McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo is still getting accustomed to the MCL35M. While he qualified sixth and would go on to finish in the same position, the Honey Badger doesn’t appear to have all his mojo.
Sunday’s Emilia Romagna GP saw Ricciardo leading teammate Lando Norris during the early stages of the race. However, it didn’t take long for Norris to voice over team radio that he believed he had more pace than Ricciardo, but needed clean air in order to push.
The strategists at McLaren obviously shared the same opinion as Norris, with Ricciardo issued team orders to let his teammate through, “We need to see Lando’s pace in clean air.”
📻 "We need to see Lando's pace in clean air"
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 18, 2021
Once past, Norris’ pace was evident, quickly pulling away from Ricciardo. But while some drivers will often ignore such orders, Ricciardo said it was fair enough.
“I think that’s where I’ve got to swallow my pride,” Ricciardo said, while talking to Sky Sports F1. “I honestly think the team were fair enough, they gave me time to try to show my pace.
“There were some laps where I had a bit and could kind of do a decent time, and to be honest where I did push I did start to kill a bit the right front [tyre] so they gave me the time required to show what I had.
“Today [Sunday] it wasn’t enough, so I’m not going to get into any fisticuffs, it was fair enough.”
“It’s just going to take a bit of time”
Former McLaren driver, now Ferrari recruit, Carlos Sainz, came out saying that quite often the transition from one team to another is like changing to a completely different racing category. With new setups to become accustomed to as well as the handling and particular quirks of the car.
While Ricciardo’s natural pace may be off, it’s not something to worry about at this stage. Compared with days gone by, the amount of testing a driver can perform is significantly less. Where Ricciardo will gain confidence and develop is by jumping in the car on race day.
And although Ricciardo admits he still needs to get fully comfortable with the MCL35M, it’s something he was expecting may take some time.
“I don’t think I underestimated [the transition],” he continued. “I was well aware of this when I transitioned from Red Bull to Renault. I guess, unfortunately, it’s just going to take a bit of time. But the season’s long I think, it’s only race two. Of course I want to be quicker already.
“I think that probably by race six, race seven I’ll look back at race two and be like ‘What was I worried about’, you know. It’s still so early.
“The encouraging thing is the pace is there. You know Lando had a strong race and all weekend actually really strong pace.
“So, it’s really just about me and fine-tuning everything with the car and I guess becoming one with it. So yeah, I’ll just work at it and hopefully be more competitive for races to come.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 19, 2021