Ricciardo hopes tweaked Melbourne F1 lay-out can yield points

Daniel Ricciardo says McLaren Formula 1's improved Saudi Arabia GP form has given him hope that he can aim for points at his home race in Melbourne.

Ricciardo hopes tweaked Melbourne F1 lay-out can yield points

Ricciardo and teammate Lando Norris have struggled in the opening two races of 2022 as McLaren was caught off the pace of the frontrunners.

After finishing in the top four in the past two seasons, McLaren was blown away by the opposition at a painful Bahrain opening weekend, Ricciardo and Norris finishing in 14th and 15th after unlapping themselves under the safety car.

But the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah was more promising for the Woking outfit, its drivers just missing out on Q3 as Norris went on to take McLaren's first points of the season with a hard-fought seventh place.

While Ricciardo retired from the race with mechanical trouble, he said Norris' result was encouraging ahead of the Australian's home race in Melbourne.

Albert Park modifications

Albert Park modifications

Photo by: Australian Grand Prix Corporation

The Australian Grand Prix takes place for the first time since 2019, as the Covid-19 pandemic famously forced the 2020 edition to be abandoned on the eve of the event, and Ricciardo is eager to give his home fans something to cheer about on F1's return.

"Looking at Australia, it's going to be flowing and quite fast again, especially the changes they made," Ricciardo said.

"So perhaps that comes to us again and maybe we could fight for points. I know that's not aiming very high but that's really all we can aim for, for now.

"Until we get some big updates, I think anything inside the top 10 we'll take as a little victory for now."

Ricciardo's relative optimism for Melbourne stems from the belief that the huge swing in McLaren's performance so far has been track specific, and he hopes Bahrain was a "bogey situation" for the team.

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"The [Saudi] weekend, I would put it down to just circuit characteristics, so I'm really hoping that Bahrain was a bit of a bogey situation for us," he added.

"We cleaned up a few things in terms of stuff with the brakes that we had issues with in Bahrain. But I think it was just a circuit that suited us."

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