Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Ricciardo mystified to become “one second slower” overnight

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo said his loss of pace in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix was a mystery.

The McLaren driver will line up 10 places behind team mate Lando Norris after failing to make the cut for Q2. Ricciardo, who set the second-quickest time on Friday, admitted he was bemused by his latest setback.

“It’s a bit of a mystery, actually,” he said. “We were obviously quick yesterday. I know it’s only Friday practice, I don’t expect to be fighting for pole position today. But obviously we were pretty comfortable with everything.

“We put the car on track today and we are like one second slower, pretty much. So, really, then qualifying was a product of also this morning, we were just off the pace. But why, I’m not sure.”

Ricciardo has found it difficult to get up to speed in the McLaren since joining the team at the beginning of the year, and admitted there was no one obvious area he was losing out today.

“This was definitely one of those days, a bit of a frustrating one. We’ll obviously try to understand why, how.

“But I felt like it’s not like there was a lot of time here or there, it as just a little bit of lap time everywhere and you try and improve a bit but I just felt like everything I did I was not really able to gain anything else out of the car.”

McLaren did not make any significant changes to his car which might account for Ricciardo’s difficulties, he said.

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“We fine-tuned a little bit, for sure, but nothing crazy, nothing which should explain being so far off today. You always obviously change the car to try to be quicker so we definitely didn’t expect this today.”

Despite his difficulties in qualifying, Ricciardo has scored in all bar one of the races so far this year, and is hopeful of a better run on Sunday.

“The quali’s done so we have to certainly look to tomorrow,” he said. “And the one positive with being out in Q2 is you have the free tyre choice. So we’ll obviously try and try and play around a bit there.

“But it’s always a bit confusing when you’re obviously from one day to the next and not a whole lot changed today with weather or temperature. I guess everything’s very, very sensitive at the moment.”

Formula 1 will race at the Red Bull Ring again next week, which Ricciardo said may give him a further opportunity to get to the bottom of his handling problems. “Coming back next week will also be a good thing, actually, to come back and have another crack,” he said.

“But after Le Castellet I was pretty happy with the progress. Yesterday I was like alright, this is nice, it’s starting to all come together, and then you get a day like today where it’s just like ‘what, I don’t really know how that all happened’.”

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2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
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29 comments on “Ricciardo mystified to become “one second slower” overnight”

  1. These kind of inexplicable results will be bad for his confidence.
    A driver of his status does not loose his ability overnight. High Time for McLaren to get to the bottom of this.

  2. I have Riccardo pretty high in my list of the top drivers but i think Noris is in the same class as Verstapen in the ability to extract everything from the car that he has on his hands no matter how good or bad it is.
    This is the reason i think we see this. Noris progress exponentially during the weekend.

    1. This could be, hamilton is getting older but when he’s on it we should have 5 in the same category now: hamilton, verstappen, leclerc, russel, norris; ricciardo is still one of the top drivers but was never really at the same level of speed as verstappen once the latter got some experience at red bull, russel still unproven ofc but I’m pretty confident he’s up there if he gets a decent car to show it.

  3. Its a shame to see him drop back again after the progress last week in France. He needs to use the fact that next week is the same venue, to go away and come back stronger.

  4. wow, Ricciardo really is landing on earth badly, isn’t he?
    Same as Hamilton.
    This is a tough season for millennials.

  5. It is interesting how once brilliant driver who placed a firm questionmark over Vettels ability now looks like somewhat questionable himself?

    Clearly he has not aged this much in one year, his confidence might be shattered, there is something this car is not giving them?

    And what can be said of F1 when so many top talent struggle. This much?

    Tires really are bad, but I fathom to understand how Daniel can be so off pace, clearly they will need someone else next year if this cannot be fixed?

    1. It just shows drivers actually do depend more on the car than they often dare to admit.

  6. MAAGALAM Harsha Vardhan
    26th June 2021, 16:40

    Cough cough two thou cough thousand Fourteen

    1. Two thousand five
      Nineteen ninety eight
      Nineteen ninety two

  7. I think ricciardo is the weirdest case of unexpected underperformance this year, in particular as it seems to be a consistent problem.

  8. Last weekend was promising, but again nowhere, so weird.

  9. I really feel for Danny. He’s a top tier driver clearly stuck in a no-mans land setup wise. It’s clear the car is capable of more, but he’s really struggling to find his way in.

    I think this is also speaking volumes about Lando. I’m beginning to increasingly think the McLaren is not as good a car as everyone is making out, and that Lando has instead made that next step and is himself a very top tier driver now. It’s not only the speed, but the outright consistency. Maybe we’re all underestimating how good Lando actually is?

    1. This are my thoughts or the car is totally created to suit Lando because he has more years in the team and Ric doesn’t like it. Even if the second is the case, i expected Ric to be more versatile from let’s say vettel who likes the rear end to stick to the ground. Lando, Ver, Ham and generally all the great drivers, sacrifice the rear end to gain speed but its very difficult to be consistent and error free if you are not top dog.

      1. I read that a lot: “car designed for driver x” but I don’t believe that narrative. Cars are designed for one thing only: speed. It usually means it will actually be a pig to drive/handle. So it usually means only the most talented drivers are able to extract everything from it. And being able to adapt is a key factor. But the more a car is on a knife edge the longer it will take to master it. I don’t believe the car is designer for Norris. What we see now is just Norris having much more time in this car and its quirks

        Just my 5 cents

  10. Worrying for McLaren. The reference driver is struggling. New regs coming out and the team does not know what is quick. Maybe the Silverstone tyre will suit Dan turning everything upside down.

    1. Ricciardo can’t be the reference driver when he is new to the team and Norris is in his third season.
      I’ve always believed that Ricciardo is overrated, and this season just confirms that. He’s a one-trick pony: late braking is all he really has over other drivers.

      1. This one season in his career. Good chat.

        1. So, was he stellar when he was at Renault?
          He had one good season (2014) against a high level driver, but that’s really the only time he’s ever excelled

  11. I think the vast majority of us are mystified Danny.

    I expected a great deal when you went to Renault but it didn’t happen.
    The car wasn’t fantastic I suppose so fair enough.

    Now a spotty kid is is making you look like a donkey.
    No disrespect to the spotty kid by the way.
    He is jolly fast.
    You used to be fast as well … remember?

  12. Dan was faster than Lando in both FP1 and FP2. I wonder if the ‘small changes overnight’ that he mentions came from Lando’s feedback and were carried over to Dan’s car.

    Dan has done well here before. He held off Lewis for the podium in 2017 with a combination of outright speed and defensive driving. He has more in his kitbag than just late braking.

  13. A couple of Verstappen fans having a bit of a gloat over Ricciardo’s lack of pace :) Lets just see how the race pans out. Norris has shown what the McLaren can do, Ricciardo has proven ability.

  14. Pretty mystifying, especially gives his pace at France and his speed yesterday. Will be interesting to see how everyone goes next year when the cars are totally new and everyone starts from the same level.

  15. Cristiano Ferreira
    27th June 2021, 2:24

    McLaren should fire this guy ASAP before he makes the team loses the 3rd place in the WCC.

    I like him, but i like McLaren even more, and it hurts to see that one person could be responsible for the team’s downfall if Ferrari manages to recover its pace later in the season.

    1. You win the award for the most ridiculous comment today.

  16. Thing that annoys me about this qualifying format is we have no idea what’s going on. I watched the entirety of yesterdays qualifying and didn’t get to see half a lap of Daniel, let alone a full lap. As a fan it’s really frustrating to just have no idea where or how he’s losing out to Norris.

    The director was just flipping back and forward between on boards for two corners and back to wide angle shots of cars coming around corners with no real context. Found myself staring at the tiny graphic in the corner of where the cars are on the track to have any context of what was going on.

    It’s a problem when you’d be better off looking at timng screens that actually watching a broadcast…

    Maybe we’ll get to see something in the pre-race tomorrow but they seem more interested in puff pieces, interviews and speculation rather than actually analysing what has happened.

    1. @skipgamer TV focusing on an Alpha Tauris in Q3 was unbelievable, same with picking up cars on their cool-down laps throughout qualy. I am at a loss to see how it’s even possible for a TV director to be this bad.

  17. Shocking and career-damaging this for Ricciardo. Such a shame.

    Even if he should find the pace later in the year, I doubt this will be forgotten. Maybe the old dominating Mercedes looking for a new wingman would have considered him, but not now when they need someone a tenth or two away from their no. 1.

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