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Ricciardo: McLaren vs Ferrari battle was a "cool story" for F1

Daniel Ricciardo thinks his McLaren team's fight with Ferrari has been a "cool story" for Formula 1 as the two traditional rivals battled for third place in the 2021 constructors' championship.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

A resurgent Ferrari enjoyed a much more competitive 2021 season after finishing a lowly sixth the year before and challenged McLaren to third place, which the Woking team claimed in 2020.

A tight battle between McLaren and Ferrari ebbed and flowed for most of the season until the Scuderia surged clear in the final third of 2021 to secure third.

It proved an enjoyable next chapter in one of F1's most traditional rivalries spanning several decades. Famous McLaren-Ferrari bouts include duels between James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the 1970s, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1990 and more recently battles between Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen in the late 1990s and early 2000s, or Lewis Hamilton versus Felipe Massa in 2008.

PLUS: How Ferrari triumphed in the battle for F1 2021's best of the rest

Ricciardo, who had a low-key first season of adaption with McLaren, enjoyed his team's battle with the Maranello squad and thought it was "a cool story" for F1.

"That it's Ferrari, from the outside it's a cool story that these two teams have had a few low years and two of the biggest teams ever," Ricciardo said.

"And now they're coming back and they're fighting it out. If only it was for P1! I think that's really the story I'm sure many fans want."

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Regardless of the opposition, Ricciardo appreciated that his team's scrap with Ferrari gave it clear and concrete goals to chase throughout 2021, as Mercedes and Red Bull both proved out of reach for the two giants.

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"It's always better when you've got something to fight for," the Australian explained. "If we're in this lonely battle for third and Red Bull and [Mercedes] were too far in front, Ferrari was too far behind, I think it would be less exciting.

"I like having a target and something to chase, so that's been good. And for sure we've focused some of our stuff on them and just obviously trying to beat them, but that's probably more of a team thing.

"I think for me personally as a driver once the helmet's on and the lights go out Sunday, it doesn't matter what colour the car is, if you think you can beat them then you're going to try to beat them.

"It doesn't really change the act behind the wheel, but I think for the team to have that target and that battle, it does create a little bit more… I don't want to say motivation, but yeah, there's a target, so every weekend you've got something really to work for and it doesn't allow any of us to get complacent."

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