Ricciardo sometimes “a little too lost” in McLaren F1 difficulties in 2022

Formula 1

The Australian parted ways with McLaren after the recent Abu Dhabi Grand Prix off the back of two tough Formula 1 seasons as a McLaren driver.

While there was one significant highlight, Ricciardo’s victory at Monza in 2021, he was for the most part out-paced by team-mate Lando Norris.

That ultimately led to what was meant to be a three-year deal being terminated early as McLaren moved to replace him with fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri for 2023.

Ricciardo opened up on his struggles at McLaren over the past two years on the latest episode of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s In the Fast Lane podcast.

He admitted that overanalysing his lack of pace did become an issue and eventually steer him away from his natural driving style.

“It’s something that I’ve certainly thought about,” he said.

“I feel that now the season has ended I’ve already slowly let it go. But I’m sure I’ll still think about it over time, because it is a little bit of a… I don’t want to say a mystery, but the kind of continuous struggles I had were, at least for me, very foreign.

“We all have our bad races, but to have the amount that I did, and the level that it was at times, like a second a lap off the pace, I’d scratch my head.

“I think already last year, during the summer break, it occurred to me that I was driving very consciously. It wasn’t natural anymore. I was one step behind.

“That was where I was like, ‘I think we’re trying to do too much’.

“One thing I keep thinking back on is my very first qualifying with McLaren. I out-qualifed Lando.

“I still didn’t really know the car. I don’t know how many times I out-qualified him over the two years, but it wasn’t much.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“To have done it when I was probably just driving more off feel and instinct and a lack of knowledge about the car, that was when I was probably better off.

“That’s not a knock on anyone or anything. It’s more like, okay, did we overanalyse our bad weekends and then get caught up in a way where it was like, ‘we need to start driving like this or setting the car up like that’?

“For sure, at some point, we would have got a little too deep and a little too lost.”

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Ricciardo stopped short of blaming his lack of success entirely on the level of analysis with the frank admission that the car exposed some of his weaknesses.

“If we didn’t dive that deep, would I have killed it? I still don’t believe I would have killed it in this car,” he said.

“It certainly exposed some of my weaknesses. I have to accept that.

“But I feel that we probably underperformed through burying ourselves too deep in it all at times. And that’s a real thing. Especially now.

“Race weekends are so busy, it’s so full-on. You only have a certain amount of energy – mental energy, physical, whatever.

“If you’re using up a bit more mental energy trying to analyse too much, by the time you’re getting into the car you’re already probably a little bit fried.”




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