Daniel Ricciardo feels McLaren will need to bring their ‘A-game’ if the team intends on defending third in the Constructors’ Championship.
McLaren will be up against it this Formula 1 season, as they go on the charge to defend their third place in the constructors’ standings.
The 2021 season looks to be one of the closest to date, with Lando Norris mentioning that there really isn’t a midfield anymore. You have the top two teams in Mercedes and Red Bull. Followed by a gaggle of teams, all of which will be in close contention for P3.
One major thing that will help determine the champion of ‘best of the rest’ will ultimately be who has the better car, plus a bit of luck of course. As races have shown time and time again, it’s not always the team with the best car that finishes on the podium, just most of the time.
The McLaren MCL35M looked like a solid contender during F1 testing in Bahrain. With the team enjoying a solid three days of testing with few complications.
However, this weekend’s opening round at the Bahrain International Circuit will be the first true comparison of the MCL35M up against its rivals. But Daniel Ricciardo is feeling comfortable with how the car has performed to date.
“The biggest thing you want in testing, especially when you’ve only got three days, is reliability and to get lots of laps in,” Ricciardo said. “And that’s exactly what we got: we didn’t encounter any major reliability problems and, although we didn’t top the lap chart, we covered everything we needed.
“It was a smooth test and a big tick in the box for everyone in the team. The car felt good and we did a good long run in the final session. I left the test feeling comfortable in the car and the team.”
Ricciardo’s outlook for the year ahead
It goes without question that Ricciardo is going to come out of the gates firing in 2021. Ready to prove any naysayer’s wrong as he looks to push not only himself, but McLaren towards the front of the grid.
After finishing an impressive fifth in the 2020 Drivers’ Championship with Renault, there’s no reason why Ricciardo can’t do the same or even better this year. In what is hoped will be a faster and more reliable McLaren under Mercedes power.
But while that may be something Ricciardo is looking to achieve on a personal level, when it comes to the team, he feels he has the experience to help McLaren hold on to third place in the constructors’. Albeit against some tough competition.
“I think it would be great to hold on to third place in the Constructors’ Championship,” Ricciardo continued. “It’s going to be just as hard as last year to do that, if not harder, so we’re going to have to be on our A-game, but I feel like I have a lot of experience in the sport that can help the team to continue to move forward.
“And it’s not just about me, as I said, Lando has a good amount of experience too – he got his first podium last year – so I think as a driver line-up we bring a lot of positives to the team that can drive it forward.”