Ricciardo: Struggles ‘easier to tolerate’ as others also feel the pain
Daniel Ricciardo says his current struggles at McLaren are in a sense “easier to tolerate” as he isn’t the only driver battling to adapt to a new car and team.
Ricciardo finished among the top ten in the first three races of 2021, but the Aussie has been outperformed and outscored by teammate Lando Norris who currently sits at the top of F1’s midfeld.
Ricciardo cast a downbeat figure after qualifying in Portugal, having failed to exit Q3, but a run in the points on race day partially helped to relieve his disappointment.
The McLaren driver is focused on his own predicament and determined to improve his performance, but a look at the relative hardship endured by a few of his colleagues – like Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz or Sergio Perez – who have also changed teams has brought some minor comfort.
“At the end of the day, I’m always going to look at myself, and I’ll always expect the most out of myself and not really be too phased by what the rest are doing,” he said.
“But knowing I’m not alone in the struggle, so to speak, it makes a little easier to tolerate, the pain is spread across a few of us, so it’s okay.
“We’re all experiencing something that is, for whatever reason, quite difficult at the moment.”
While not minimizing his current difficulties, Ricciardo insists it’s early days still and simply premature to draw any firm conclusions.
“It’s all so early and I think that’s the truth,” he said. “Lewis got asked something about Valtteri and it’s like ‘it’s only race three and Valtteri did get pole in the last race’, so it’s quite quick to jump to conclusions.
“That’s why we as drivers have to know where we are and not be too focused on the external noise.”
Read also – Ricciardo: Top-ten finish helped ‘relieve’ qualifying frustrations
Ricciardo says he is “fully engaged” in understanding his car and how to adapt to it, and while that process is energy consuming, it’s also a necessary one to allow him to eventually drive “freely”.
“I think the totally relaxed state will come, and that’ll come when I’m comfortable in the car and understand the car,” he added.
“But whilst my brain is still trying to process it, what works and what doesn’t, I’m fully engaged and fully conscious in all parts of the corner.
“You could say that that takes some energy away from you, and it can be a little bit taxing, but right now I need to be in that state to make the next step, and then I can eventually come out of that and drive freely.
“I think I could drive freely now, some corners it would work, but across the whole lap I’m not there, not fully at peace and at one with it.”
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