Ricciardo: Still track-dependent for McLaren to fight Mercedes and Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo believes it is still track-dependent for McLaren to fight with Formula 1 front-runners Mercedes and Red Bull despite its recent strong form.

Ricciardo: Still track-dependent for McLaren to fight Mercedes and Red Bull

Ricciardo scored McLaren’s first victory in almost nine years by winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last month, leading home team-mate Lando Norris for a 1-2.

Norris himself came close to winning the following race in Sochi two weeks ago, only for a late rain shower to end his hopes after failing to make the switch to intermediate tyres at the right time.

The upswing in form for McLaren has helped its push for third place in the constructors’ championship against Ferrari, and given hope to a more open fight at the head of the field following a period of Red Bull and Mercedes dominance.

The team has regularly downplayed its chances of being a consistent threat in the fight at the front, and Ricciardo felt that while it had got in the mix on occasion this year, its best form was still largely track-dependent.

“We’ve definitely been looking like [fighting Mercedes and Red Bull] certainly more often in the last few weeks,” Ricciardo said.

“I think Lando has been there pretty much all year, and it’s starting to look more promising for me as well.

“But looking at Lando’s race [in Sochi], the part in the dry was very strong, contending there.

“I think it’s still a little track-dependent for us as a team. I don’t think we’re universally strong across the board, at every track layout we go to.

“The ones that we’re strong on, we seem to be able to really take it to the top two teams.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said that he broadly agreed with Ricciardo’s assessment, and that the team was remaining realistic about its current standing in the F1 pecking order, with its focus being on beating Ferrari to third place in the constructors’ championship.

“I think with the picture we have seen so far this year, yes I would agree that it will be track-specific,” Seidl said.

“We have seen occasionally this year that we were able to fight even for pole positions or keep faster cars behind us on specific tracks.

“At the same time, I think with the development of the car throughout the season, plus a better understanding also of the team and how to get even more performance out of the package that we have, I think we made steps in terms of car performance at all kinds of tracks, as we have seen for example in Hungary.

“But I think we have a realistic view on where we are right now. At least with the Ferraris, we have everything in our hands in order to keep them behind us.

“At the same time, whenever there are opportunities to score podium results, we want to be there.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Turkish GP: Hamilton leads FP1 with new Istanbul Park track record
Previous article

F1 Turkish GP: Hamilton leads FP1 with new Istanbul Park track record

Next article

F1 drivers trial prototype gloves after Grosjean crash

F1 drivers trial prototype gloves after Grosjean crash
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Plus

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. MARK GALLAGHER ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022