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Ricciardo driving style tweak aiding Portuguese GP improvement

Daniel Ricciardo says a tweak to his driving style that he’s tried out in McLaren’s Formula 1 simulator has helped him unlock more performance at this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, makes a pit stop

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, makes a pit stop

Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

The Australian had a tough time at Imola a fortnight ago, as he did not have the pace to match team-mate Lando Norris, who went on to finish on the podium.

But having analysed in detail where he was lacking, Ricciardo has since spent some time in the McLaren simulator honing the way he drives in a bid to better suit the demands of his MCL35M.

“The car has a tendency to reward a bit of a different technique, a bit of a different style,” he told Sky Sports F1, after ending Friday’s FP2 session eighth overall on the timesheets.

“That's from turning in, to the way you use the brake and get back on throttle. It's a little unique. So I've been working on that in the simulator and trying to put that into display here.

“I think that was coming. And I think naturally, we're just getting more confidence as well with the way the car slides and moves.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Ricciardo said that while changing his driving style was a good short term solution to extract more performance, work was being done in the background to help develop the car in a direction that suits him better.

“I think that the general characteristics of the car, what they are at the moment, in some corners I can’t, let’s say, use my style,” he said.

“It seems like the majority [of corners], the best way to drive it is a different style.

“I'm trying to let the guys know where the weaknesses are and how I'd like to drive the car. And so we're trying to bring some updates to address that. But until then, I'll just learn how to drive it as it is.”

F1’s limited pre-season testing this year, which was reduced to just three days, appears to have played a part in hurting those drivers who have switched teams.

Ricciardo reckoned that despite his vast F1 experience, he was sometimes having to be treated like a rookie in a bid to get up to speed at McLaren.

“It's hard to take because I'm a veteran now of the sport and it's like, why should I need time?” he explained.

“I'm obviously experienced coming into this team and everyone's kind of treating me like a rookie, but in a way it is true because I'm a rookie with this car and this environment.

“I’m certainly not a rookie, but obviously after Imola, I was upset that I didn't do better or couldn't get more. 

“But Andreas [Seidl], Zak [Brown], they’re just like: 'chill, dude, it's just going to come'. So yeah, I mean, I'm obviously trying not to chill too much, but I'm aware that it’ll come eventually.”

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