Best result for McLaren so far partly due to track characteristics – Ricciardo

2021 British Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo attributed his best result of the season last weekend partly to the characteristics of the Silverstone circuit.

The McLaren driver qualified seventh, then moved up one spot in the first ever sprint qualifying race on Saturday. He profited from Max Verstappen’s lap one retirement to finish fifth in the British Grand Prix, his best result since joining McLaren.

However Ricciardo said Silverstone’s high-speed nature, which places less of an onus on braking, helped him get the best out of his McLaren MCL35M.

“We were in a decent place with the car and just built confidence through qualifying,” he said on Saturday. “I think I had just a good level of comfort with it, obviously that helps.

“But it’s definitely [that] there’s less braking on this circuit, so that’s one characteristic which maybe has been a good thing for me this weekend.”

Ricciardo said this was the first time the car suited him so well this year. “I had the comfort and confidence to push and it felt relatively like natural for me. So we weren’t really chasing too much with set-up or kind of technique.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl was “very happy” with Ricciardo’s qualifying result but said “at the same time, it was good to see that he was still not happy and he was grumpy because he wanted more”.

Speaking on Sunday evening, Ricciardo said his race-long battle with Carlos Sainz Jnr helped him understand more about the way his car was behaving.

“It’s strange, because you’d think on one lap is more when you’re really pushing the car on the limit and maybe the race, when everything settles down, I’ll have a bit more [pace],” he said.

“But I’ve kind of seen the opposite this weekend. On the race, when the car’s a bit [high] on fuel and starts to move around more, that’s where I’ve still got to dial it in a bit more. I think just the feeling and being able to really put the car on that knife-edge. I’m not able to do as consistently yet.

“I think having Carlos actually for most of the race putting the pressure on me kind of forced me to, in a way, over-drive some corners. And I think it allowed me to feel a little more where that edge is.”

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2021 British Grand Prix

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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6 comments on “Best result for McLaren so far partly due to track characteristics – Ricciardo”

  1. Well, that and Max being shunted out of the race, Perez being poor, Vettel doing another Vettel etc. Imagine how good it would have been if Ferrari had been just their usual self.

    1. I can not get rid of the idea the teams are way more comparable then they think.
      Not fighting red bull and Mercedes and only focus on the top of the midfield seems a self furfilling prophecy.
      When the situation on track changes even ferrari and mclaren can fight for podiums or even victories.
      Morris showed he can fight a Mercedes. Leclerc showed h can fight a red bull and a Mercedes.
      Be confident and change tactics to go for the highest would be my advice for those teams. Do not settle for less.

  2. I was thinking the same thing about Dan’s performance at Silverstone, so i appreciate his honesty over this.

    He was very clearly only a few thousandths of a second off Lando’s times in qualifying. Then, in the second stint of the race, he as able to hold off Carlos, who was in a car that was capable of nearly winning the race. In the right hands, the ferrari should have been quicker than the McLaren.

    Overall, I had a sense that Dan had closed some of the gap to Lando at Silverstone, but we’ll need to wait until Hungary to see if it slips back to the 0.3 or 0.4 seconds per lap

  3. For sure the track, but it will anyway improve his enjoyment and confidence. Hungaroring will definitely show by how much.

  4. Apart from NOR pit stop, McLaren had a damage control race vs Ferrari for WCC points.
    Whilst NOR lost out to BOT, HAM did them a mega favour by beating LEC for the win – saved 7pts.
    RIC kept SAI behind for, at least, the second GP.
    RIC finished, I think, 21secs behind NOR, incl 4 sec pit stop loss, but RIC was holding off SAI for a number of laps, which would have cost him significant time.
    Yes, Hungaroring will be a truer test.

  5. I’ve been thinking for a while that he’s actually been a little too conservative and the limit is further away than he thinks. It’s good that he was able to push a bit harder in the race and get a bit closer to it. I reckon he needs to push hard and go over the limit a couple of times to get a better feel for where the limit actually is.

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