Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

2021 F1 driver rankings #13: Daniel Ricciardo

2021 F1 driver rankings

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The most difficult driver to position in this year’s rankings has to be the one who won the Italian Grand Prix less than four months after being lapped by his team mate in Monaco.

Daniel Ricciardo

Beat team mate in qualifying7/22
Beat team mate in race6/20
Races finished21/22
Laps spent ahead of team mate364/1199
Qualifying margin0.36

Daniel Ricciardo’s first season as a McLaren driver was one of sharp contrasts such as this. There can be no doubt that the driver who headed this ranking five years ago remains immensely talented and capable. But he struggled to do justice to his abilities from the outset and, unlike others who switched teams during the off-season such as Carlos Sainz Jnr and Sergio Perez, never quite got on top of it.

Detail errors by Lando Norris in a succession of Q3 sessions over the opening races meant Ricciardo lined up ahead of his team mate at several of the opening rounds. But when Norris cruised up behind Ricciardo early on in proceedings at Imola, was waved past his team mate and shot off into the distance, it was clear the newcomer had plenty still to find from the MCL35M.

Portugal gave another clear indication all was not well. Not merely because Ricciardo failed to make it beyond Q3, or that the scale of his deficit to his team mate was in the order of a full second but, as he admitted, because he seemed to be losing time everywhere rather than in a single area.

As the season unfolded, tracks with frequent braking zones tended to show Ricciardo at his least competitive. Quicker courses suited him better, notably the Circuit de Catalunya, the only venue where he led Norris home prior to the summer break.

His return to the car began promisingly at Zandvoort, where he qualified well. Then at Monza the cards fell for him beautifully.

Ricciardo was just six-thousandths of a second off Norris in qualifying – and furious at the missed opportunity – but took every chance the sprint qualifying race and grand prix offered him, coolly leading the team to a shock one-two. One of the great unanswered questions of the 2021 season is what kind of fight we might have seen that day had Max Verstappen not suffered a slow pit stop and had ended the race bearing down on his former Red Bull team mate.

After that high, Ricciardo couldn’t match Norris’ performance level in Sochi. But he sussed more quickly than his young team mate that the deteriorating conditions at the end of the race required a switch to intermediate tyres, and so he came home ahead. But that was the last time he did so all season, except in Jeddah, where Norris got unlucky with an early red flag.

Monza victory was only highlight, albeit a bright one
In Formula 1 outright performance is the ultimate metric, and so Ricciardo’s 2021 season cannot be considered a success in that respect. However he deserves credit for his perseverance and positivity, even when he admitted feeling increasingly exasperated by his predicament, not to mention his self-restraint which prevented that frustration translating into on-track errors.

It leaves room for optimism that, if he clicks with the new McLaren in the way he failed to with this year’s car, we should see something more like the Ricciardo of old again in 2022.

What’s your verdict on Daniel Ricciardo’s 2021 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments. Add your views on the other drivers in the comments.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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71 comments on “2021 F1 driver rankings #13: Daniel Ricciardo”

  1. I think this is generous, to be honest. The McLaren was the third-quickest car for much of the season, and it’s no stretch to say that Ricciardo’s frequent lacklustre performances cost them third in the WCC.

    Of course, when he got his opportunity, he took it, and the Monza win was one of the highlights of the season in a year not exactly short of memorable moments. But the good days were far too infrequent, and given the equipment at his disposal and his obvious speed we should have seen far better from Ricciardo.

    I’d have ranked him a spot or two lower, behind Mick but ahead of the Alfa Romeo pair.

    1. given the equipment at his disposal

      Gotta disagree there, he said from day 1 the car was weird. Norris had two years to learn how to get the best out of it and adapt a style. There’s no secret he was being coached by McLaren to change his driving style.

      That doesn’t scream great equipment to me.

      1. @skipgamer
        Part of a racing driver’s job is adapting your drving style to the car in a way to minimize the damage. Yes, the car was definitely not easy to driver for Danny Ric, but I firmly believe a driver like Hamilton, Alonso, Verstappen or Leclerc would’ve done a better job.
        Seb Vettel was having similar problems in ’14, ’19 & ’20. He was heavily criticized by the press and fans, questioning his four WDC titles. Why should Danny Ric be treated differently?!

        1. I’m still undecided on that, just for the fact of how far does it go? If a team runs some computer simulations to decide their car will be fastest with particular inputs, how much of being a driver becomes; “it’s your job to drive the car how we tell you to.”

          Not to say it is that way, but it’s where your logic, and what Ricciardo has had to deal with this year leads. At the end of the day it should always be a compromise and work should be done to help both drivers feel comfortable with the driving style required. Unless there’s a clear #1 situation like Red Bull prefer.

          1. The question is, in exactly what manner was the McLaren hindering Ricciardo from using his ‘natural’ driving style in 2021? Maybe the problems are all gone with the new car and he starts regularly beating Norris, though I hardly think so.
            Perhaps the lack of testing was hurting Ricciardo more than others, as he also never raced with a Mercedes engine in F1 before, or the car had certain characteristics that just didn’t suit him. Or maybe he just isn’t as adaptable as others are. Who knows?!

            The team will always go for a design that favors either the faster driver or the one that has been working with them for a longer time. In 2007 Fernando Alonso also had to adapt to a completely different car at McLaren, compared to the Renault which was taylor-made for him. He had to deal with a different engine, tyres and a fundamentally different chassis. Yet, he did a pretty decent job against Lewis Hamilton, whos is, how we now know, one of the best drivers of all time.

            I’m not saying that Danny Ric is a bad driver or that he is overhyped, just that it’s unfair to bash one struggling driver (be it Seb Vettel or Nikita Mazepin or any other driver), but finding excuses for another one. It should be the same for everyone!

          2. I’m not saying that Danny Ric is a bad driver or that he is overhyped, just that it’s unfair to bash one struggling driver (be it Seb Vettel or Nikita Mazepin or any other driver), but finding excuses for another one. It should be the same for everyone!

            That’s a very fair call

      2. @skipgamer

        Yes and the Renault was weird too, apparently. If a driver underperforms in two very different cars, then blaming the equipment seems like a cop out.

        Besides, it’s the job of the driver to be fast in the car they are given. You can give a turd to Alonso and he’ll still drive it better than his team mate, because he’ll adapt and skid mark it through the corners.

        1. Indeed Ric found the Renault not working until his setup “breakthrough” but McLaren won’t even let him play with the setup because it works for Lando.

          You can give a turd to Alonso and he’ll still drive it better than his team mate

          You give a turd to Alonso and he will complain like the rest then go sit in lounge chairs. Compare Alonso v Ocon to Ricciardo v Ocon… Has Alonso really done much better?

  2. Ricciardo clearly struggled to find pace with the car throughout the entire year, that much is obvious. And for this he deserves to be well down in these rankings.

    However I think it’s worth pointing out that despite his alarming lack of pace, his racecraft was as good as ever. His starts were generally excellent, his overtaking and defending was spot on and he delivered consistent points with few errors. When an opportunity arose, such as Monza, he took it with both hands as he so often has in the past.

    Many will say he deserves to be lower but I think 13th is about right with all things considered.

    1. he delivered consistent points with few errors

      Daniel only scored 5 times in the second 11 races (this is counting the points-for-qualy Spa event) of the season while his teammate managed to come home in the points 10/11 times. (Spa being to sole non-scoring event)

      1. @Proesterchen
        You’re forgetting Brazil where he had an engine failure, Qatar where he had to save fuel because of faulty fuel readings, Zandvoort where he was told by the team to let Lando past when he was quicker than him throughout the whole weekend. Oh and that Qatar situation was so bad he had to go two seconds a lap slower to save fuel. Also Mexico where Bottas braked so early that he missed the apex and Daniel hit him.

  3. Another ranking that’s spot on. He clearly underperformed for much of the season with one exceptional high where he demonstrated his talent. However, Norris is a high benchmark at McLaren and DR showed signs of improvement over the season.

    It’s clear there’s still a good driver in there and as long as he is back on form next year, we can consider 2021 a blip similar to Hamilton’s 2011 season.

    1. and DR showed signs of improvement over the season

      But did he? Really?

      Doesn’t seem to me like the data support that narrative.

  4. I feel that Danny Ric is partially rated high because of his positive, colourful and joyful character. You can read his passion for racing from his face, both in the good and the bad days, which is a nice and well needed contrast on the otherwise flat/media trained/focussed drivers on the F1 grid.
    But over this season I found myself a couple of times thinking his words (“I know what I’m good at” etc.) were a bit hollow when they’re not substantiated with results on track, which makes me wonder how high we would rate him if he had the character of, let’s say, Valtteri Bottas or Lance Stroll.

    1. “I know what I’m good at” comments were quite clearly aimed at the car being a handful… It’s characteristics suited Norris better, not to mention he’s already been driving it for 2 years.

      1. True, but if he knows what he’s good at (‘giving the right sort of feedback on how he wants the car to behave’, if I’m reading it correctly) it’s best if it shows on track too. It should either show because (of his feedback) the car’s behaviour is coming towards him or he adjusts his driving style to fit the car’s handling. Until that time it remains a bit of a unfulfilled promise and (to get back to my original point) I think we wouldn’t take that as kindly upon him if he wasn’t such a nice, joyful open character.

  5. I echo the sentiment that Ricciardo is particularly difficult to rate, but to me he only reached the expected level on a few occassions this year (Spain, Monza, Russia, and USA spring to mind). The Monza outlier was a definite 10/10 moment, but other races like Monaco, Hungary, and Turkey stood out in the opposite direction.

    All in all, I think I would rate Ricciardo below Schumacher and both Alfa Romeos this year, but ahead of the others so far presented on this list.

    1. I would put Daniel between them as the Alfa drivers didn’t very well either but i agree with you.

  6. I think Ricciardo will be happy 2022 is here.

  7. Daniel had a terrible year.

    IMHO both the Alfa drivers, Mick, and maybe even Lance drove closer to the potential of their respective cars, while at least Checo should land behind Daniel in that metric.

  8. The most difficult driver to position in this year’s rankings has to be the one who won the Italian Grand Prix less than four months after being lapped by his team mate in Monaco.

    Can’t say I agree with that, Ricciardo was a massive disappointment this season. He played the hand he was dealt beautifully at Monza (a win which I’d say was more down to luck than skill despite him comfortably fending off Norris during the second half of the race as for him to win it needed (a) the fastest driver of the weekend, Bottas, to start from last on the grid and (b) a collision between the title protagonists to take out his main race competition), but this doesn’t hide or excuse the fact that he was well adrift of Norris all year.

    With each passing season my opinion of Ricciardo goes down, which is a shame because he is a guy who is easy to root for given his personality and his Red Bull performances. For me, he needs to pull something out of the bag soon to reverse this slide and to to avoid being labeled a decent journeyman.

    1. He had to run from Red Bull as Max had #1 status and preferential treatment (Baku said it all) and what could he have done with the Renault dog? If that makes your opinion of the driver go down then you’re just falling victim to the game of seeing the cars performance, not the drivers.

      Norris may be better, but that doesn’t mean Ricciardo has suddenly forgotten how to drive.

      1. If you’re getting beaten by Max and Lando, you’re just not ‘it’.

        Doesn’t mean people can’t root for the guy, just that they should brace themselves for the inevitable disappointment.

        1. Oh for sure, I’m not saying he will win a WDC… I think he’s got that old school mentality especially towards the simulator and not having racing as his #1 lived and breathed passion that just doesn’t cut it any more.

          1. He was a potential wdc driver though, give him a situation like button and he’d have won, and there’s been years like 2014 where he’d have also won if he had a 3rd mercedes car.

      2. @skipgamer He didn’t have to run, he chose to run. I don’t agree with Christian Horner often but I do agree that when he chose to leave it looked like he was running from a fight.

        Despite what us fans like to think about favouritism in teams, the fact is Red Bull don’t spend in around of USD250-300 million a year to build and race 2 cars and then hobble the driver in the second one. If Ricciardo was the faster guy, he’d get the team round him in a heartbeat (particularly given his likeable personality).

        What could he have done with Renault/Alpine? Won a race and got another podium on the evidence of Alonso and Ocon this season, let’s not forget he seemed to be on the up in 2020 with Renault.

        For the record and because the internet is a rough place – I am a fan of Ricciardo’s and not a fan of Verstappen or Red Bull, it hurts me to assess Ricciardo in this way because I do root for the guy.

      3. @skipgamer

        It’s pretty telling that the only example that people ever go to for evidence that Max got preferential treatment was Baku, as if a team boss being diplomatic and not openly blaming one driver for a situation were both drivers were to blame at least to some extent is slam dunk evidence for a pervasive bias within the team that makes one driver have no chance.

        Rosberg had it no better than Ricciardo, in my opinion, also being seen as (and actually being) the lesser driver within the team, but without being significantly disadvantaged. Yet Rosberg managed to beat Lewis and become champion. I see no reason why Ricciardo couldn’t have tried to do the same as Rosberg.

        Ultimately, every driver has to earn the respect of the team and the willingness to go the extra mile. The better the performance of the driver, the better the support will be.

        1. not openly blaming one driver for a situation were both drivers were to blame at least to some extent

          There was no fault of Ricciardo, he overtook Max on the track, twice cleanly, despite Max blocking him dirtirly on multiple occasions. Then they gave Max the undercut and forced Ricciardo to do it again. The fault lay squarely at Red Bull’s feet, regardless of the incident itself, yet they said somehow both drivers were to blame. It’s obvious that’s the event that cemented Verstappen as the #1 driver. I’m not even going to bring up Verstappen being gifted the win on debut for Red Bull through strategy (ie, baku is not the only example of preferential treatment), because that’s not the point I was trying to make.

          Your Rosberg comparison is lacking also as Rosberg always had the backing of Lauda since day 1.

          1. José Lopes da Silva
            12th January 2022, 22:04

            By saying you were not going to bring it up, you brought it up.
            Again the same theory: there are misterious motives for Red Bull to allegedly put Verstappen as a number one. Compromising pictures of Helmut Marko in Jos computer? Violence threats to Helmut Marko? The reasons are never brought forward. What is given as sure is that Ricciardo, the driver who overcame Red Bull’s four-time champion and basically made him run away to Ferrari, suddenly got misteriously without “backing”.

            About backing, please made your mind – Lauda was the main reason for Lewis to get to Mercedes.

  9. Lower than I would have rated him, but I’m a fan so 🤷‍♂️ Still had enough top 6 finishes for me to think having him this far down is unfair. Didn’t see that much greatness from Vettel, Perez had a championship winning car and was also well off compared to his team mate. The strange-handling McLaren and a blistering fast team mate has done his ranking no good here. If a lower tier driver had a break through win, that would have been enough to see them highly ranked. His reputation working against him in that respect.

    I don’t think he deserves to be well inside the top 10, but at least around there would have been fair.

  10. It is interesting to think that if Verstappen had never joined Red Bull then Ricciardo would have reasonable odds for being world champion this year. If the cars were the same and it was Hamilton
    and Bottas vs Ricicardo and probably Gasly then I could also see Hamilton and Ricciardo in a season long battle which probably makes it to the final or second final race. But yeah, this year has not been good for him.

    1. With Daniel losing to Max in the same car, the odds don’t look too kindly for him taking this year’s challenger to the title.

      1. @proesterchen

        It all depends on how many additional points they would take off Lewis versus the points they take off each other.

    2. Unlikely, I feel like the cars were almost even with a very small mercedes advantage across the season and hamilton is actually a bit stronger than ricciardo as a driver, so since verstappen struggled so much I don’t see how ricciardo would’ve won this title.

  11. This season has shown Riccardo for what he is, over hyped and running out of excuses, so this placement on the totem pole is very generous indeed.

    1. Through his career has easily dispatched Vettel, Hulkenberg and Ocon, and drew level with Verstappen. Who’s over hyped exactly?

      1. May I kindly direct your attention to the 2018 F1 season results:

        249 points – Max Verstappen
        170 points – Daniel Ricciardo (68% of lead driver)

        Compare that to the 2021 results:

        160 points – Lando Norris
        115 points – Daniel Ricciardo (72% of lead driver)

        Level, neither of these is.

        1. You can’t just look at points, up by 5 retirements in 2018… 4 of which came after his announcement. #hmmm
          Don’t want to bring up 2017 hmm?

          1. Don’t want to bring up 2017 hmm?

            New data supersedes old data.

            Daniel finished a race ahead of Max a grand total of 3 times that year (out of 21 events), the last time in Monaco at the end of May. (race 6/21)

        2. Ricciardo had five extra retirements that were no fault of his own. Max scored over 80 points in these races, more than the gap between them. Very convenient for you to leave that detail out.

          1. Ricciardo had 4 more retirements than Verstappen (8-4).
            But you could claim (correctly) that in the races both finished that Ricciardo scored more points than Verstappen ;)

        3. I’d say verstappen was already faster than ricciardo in 2017, but he was very unlucky with reliability, ricciardo was very unlucky with reliability in 2018 (you can add the conspiration theory if you want) and verstappen continued to outpace him, ricciardo was still a safer pair of hands back then, but verstappen since monaco stopped making silly mistakes which made him the superior driver.

          If you go check the amount of races each driver finished ahead when they both finished across those 2 years verstappen will win by far.

      2. Level with verstappen..
        Well that is telling indeed.

  12. Ricciardo couldn’t match Norris’ performance level in Sochi. But he sussed more quickly than his young team mate that the deteriorating conditions at the end of the race required a switch to intermediate tyres, and so he came home ahead. But that was the last time he did so all season, except in Jeddah

    Ricciardo beat Norris at Austin as well. You guys seem to have missed that.

  13. It’s hard to rate Ricciardo any higher than Stroll and the Alfa drivers this season. He was massively off the pace set by Lando .. and it was only one single race weekend that prevents him from being ranked #17.

  14. Imagine if Tsunoda was on the other McLaren seat. The praise would be unreal for Ricciardo.

    But sadly he has Norris to contend with unlike Gasly who has Tsunoda to make himself look good😭😭

    1. Maybe.
      But any tsunomyopia doesn’t reduce the actual gap between Norris and Ricciardo in 2021 ;)

      1. But it doesn’t reduce the actual gap between Tsunoda and Ricciardo either.😏

  15. It is indeed difficult to place D-Ric this year, but I would ansolutely put him below Gio and Stroll – both of which gave their team mates a much closer run over the season.

    I mean, look at the stats: 6/20 in races, 364/1199 racing laps, a HUGE qualifying margin difference… If Lando was able to keep his early season form up, it would have been an absolute bloodbath.

    I like Daniel, I think the sport needs characters like him, but he REALLY needs to step up this year, otherwise he will find himself slipping further and further down the grid. He doesn’t have age on his side, either.

    1. But if you’re looking purely at team mate comparison, where do you put Perez? The whole ranking is messed up if that’s all you look at…

      1. I’d absolutely put Perez below the likes of Ocon, Alonso, both Ferrari drivers, Gasly and Bottas, and obviously behind Lando, Max and Lewis, who were top 3 drivers of the year (despite the final WDC standings).

        But in Perez’ defence, no matter what he and his team were saying when he was announced as an RBR driver, he was only ever brought in as a wingman to Max – and that final race alone earned him his paycheck!

        But in the teams where there was equal opportunity and the team mate was the most accurate metric of performance, and one of those drivers was not a rookie (so McLaren, Alpine, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Williams and Alfa Romeo), Daniel’s stats come off the worst of them all, unfortunately…

        1. Checo’s year was abysmal, probably second or third worst in teammate comparisons, only outdone by Nikita and maybe Yuki.

        2. You can’t just assume a driver is brought in as a number 2; I would say every driver has an equal chance, until he is massively outperformed by his team mate, which perez promptly did (and barrichello and the likes, since people keep talking about number 2 contracts that were absolutely unnecessary), and at that point he becomes number 2 since he will not be able to challenge for the title no matter the car.

          Before the season started I’d have given 90% likelihood verstappen would outperform perez, but since perez never really had a top car I liked he was given this chance and I thought: if he is an underestimated top driver he will match verstappen or run him close, but he showed why he’s been overlooked by top teams for so long.

          1. he showed why he’s been overlooked by top teams for so long

            He hasn’t, though. It’s just that most people remembered his unimpressive stint at McLaren.

          2. @esploratore1 Perez had his chance in a top team in 2013 at McLaren, and was soundly beaten by Button.

  16. I think this rating underestimates how good Norris was this season. For me he should be rated higher than Perez, Vettel and maybe Bottas.

    1. someone or something
      12th January 2022, 14:07

      By ‘he’ you mean Ricciardo?
      I would definitely agree that Vettel only comes out ahead because Stroll’s lack of quality elevated him by comparison. As for Pérez, maybe, yeah. But I’m not sure about Bottas.

    2. And Russell😏
      I don’t know how someone/people can rank Mick Schumacher this low and Russell this high. It doesn’t make any sense. Latifi even outqualified Russell 2 times this season in regular qualifying. Mazepin outqualified Mick 0 times this season in regular qualifying.(Aside from 2 times when Mick didn’t participate)

      1. This would be my top 20:

        Verstappen (Relentlessly brilliant)
        Hamilton (Usually relentlessly brilliant)
        Norris (Consistently impressive and then unlucky / overambitious)
        Leclerc (Consistent but missed out when it counted most)
        Sainz (Steady but cashed in when others fell away)
        Gasly (Brilliant qualifier sometimes faded, sometimes delivered in the race)
        Alonso (So consistent but not always faster than Ocon)
        Ocon (Fairly consistent and cashed in when it really mattered)
        Russell (Brilliant qualifier, usually faded)
        Ricciardo (Fairly inconsistent but cashed in when it really mattered)
        Bottas (Should have been top 4 every race, often wasn’t)
        Vettel (Some flashes of brilliance, sometimes slower than Stroll)
        Perez (Not enough pace, too many mistakes but occasionally the perfect no 2)
        Stroll (Usually slower than Vettel and raced too aggresively with own teammate)
        Schumacher (Fast enough but crashed too much)
        Raikkonen (Past his best but occasionally delivered)
        Giovanazzi (Sometimes fast but rarely made the most of good situations)
        Latifi (Too slow but better than last year)
        Tsunoda (Too many crashes, usually too slow comapared to teammate)
        Mazepin (Way too slow)

        1. I agree with this ranking, also made me laugh at the end with mazepin comment, but it’s true!

  17. someone or something
    12th January 2022, 14:04

    However he deserves credit for his perseverance and positivity, even when he admitted feeling increasingly exasperated by his predicament, not to mention his self-restraint which prevented that frustration translating into on-track errors.

    I think this is a key observation, that justifies ranking him not too far from the top half of the grid (!). Of course, one cannot help but wonder if there was something wrong with the quality of this year’s grid. There’s Mazepin, who was atrocious. Tsunoda, who showed maybe 3 to 5 races with some promise, which leaves almost 20 races of underperformance, to put it mildly. Schumacher, who probably did fine for a rookie, but crashed too often. The Sauber drivers, of whom Räikkönen (who had been painfully slow already 7 years ago and has kept sinking with every additional year, while also producing a series of bizarre crashes this season) justifiably came out ahead. Latifi, whose greatest achievement consists in improving to an extent that it is no longer an obvious travesty that he occupies one of only 20 seats in this category. Stroll, who barely made that improvement a few years ago, but still very much remains a driver who would never have been allowed near a car after his debut season, if not for his exceptional family business. Ricciardo, Pérez, and Bottas, who, despite their cars’ paint jobs, appeared to drive in a different vehicle category than their team mates pretty much every weekend/most of the time/every other race.
    The list of underperformers and disappointments of 2021 is long, but there’s more to this than just a poor grid. Above all, this reflects the ever-increasing quality of F1’s most capable drivers. And in that context, even a disappointing driver such as Ricciardo (in 2021) has proven exceptional qualities that would elevate him far above the average in a lesser category of motor sports. He has persevered, and despite only rarely finding a way to extract competitive pace out of his machinery, he has never let his frustration translate into poor on-track behaviour or mistakes to any significant extent.
    13th may sound flattering for a really disappointing season, but it’s a fair representation of his effort.

    1. Hard to disagree with that take tbh, I still think there’s a driver or two, or four that could be around the same mark, but I guess they’re all about there. Meanwhile there is definitely a solid 8 or so that are shining quite brightly with solid performances.

      You would have a much easier time highlighting the performers, the strugglers, and the rest as is usually done after just weekend. And I guess if I’m being honest, even by that ranking it would be hard not to put Ricciardo with the strugglers.

      1. Mmm, interesting one, who had a good season? Verstappen, hamilton, norris, leclerc, gasly, sainz, russell

        Who had a bad season? Ricciardo, mazepin, giovinazzi, bottas, perez, tsunoda

        Who was somewhere in the middle? Vettel, stroll, raikkonen, schumacher, alonso, ocon (have a hard time deciding if alpine drivers go into the stars), latifi

  18. Fair. he did not unlock the car’s potential but he drove well.

  19. I agree with the rating. Top drivers don’t get dominated for such extended periods, even if the car has unusual handling. What this might do is also elevate Norris’ level to somewhere around where Max Verstappen is currently, or even higher than that. We won’t really know until we see Norris battling Max on a regular basis or even in the same car.

  20. “…Not merely because Ricciardo failed to make it beyond Q3…”
    I’ve yet to see any driver make it into Q4.

    1. Ahah, that’s the same mistake my father makes, confuses q1 with q3 when speaking.

  21. As a fan of Dan, I’d assumed that he’d maybe have a few tough races at the start and then pretty quickly get on top of any issues he had with the car.

    Disappointingly, that didn’t happen, and for a driver of his caliber, I found that quite astounding as I believe he’s better than that.

    I’m wondering whether the shortening of the practice sessions has made a huge impact on things like this because teams don’t have quite the luxury of being able to experiment with setups given the limited time they now have to dial in the car for qualy and the race.

    Hopefully we’ll see the potential WDC driver in 2022, and not the shadow of him that we saw in 2021.

  22. I’m a bit in the middle, this ranking could be too generous for him or it could be fair, I think stroll and schumacher maybe extracted more from their car than ricciardo did.

  23. I think its hard to rightly position Ricciardo in the rankings. For me he is still to high, the Mclaren was really not a bad car, Lando proved it. For me he should be around behind Schumacher. I am interested where Perez will finish in the rankings, he should really be around 10-12th place…

  24. I think this remark on the article is very telling:

    As the season unfolded, tracks with frequent braking zones tended to show Ricciardo at his least competitive.

    Ricciardo became famous for his extremely late braking overtakes in the Red Bull. This is clearly a sign that his technique has a big focus on braking. After leaving Red Bull it seems he lost his previous confidence but as said by others, at Renault he was allowed to adapt the car to his liking but needed at least 1 year. With McLaren there’s the additional issue that they are not willing to change the car as much as Renault was due to Lando working well with it.

    Still it was a surprise to see all the struggles he had, because I was expecting the McLaren to be a much better base than the Renault/Alpine but Ricciardo still found it hard to come to grips with it.
    This year will be better to judge his level (compared to Norris) as there will be less mitigating reasons related with unfamiliarity.

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