Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Ricciardo “expected worse” from handling of F1’s radical new cars

2022 F1 season

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Daniel Ricciardo says he expected to struggle more with the handling of the new-look 2022 F1 cars than he did during his first day of testing.

The McLaren driver got his first opportunity behind the wheel of the team’s MCL36 on Thursday after team mate Lando Norris drove both sessions on the opening day. Ricciardo covered 126 laps, setting the third overall fastest time of the day.

Ricciardo says that he expected the heavily modified cars for the 2022 season would be more of a challenge to get to grips with than they proved.

“I was probably expecting a bit worse in the car or a bit more of a difficult car to drive,” Ricciardo said. “But so far it actually felt pretty balanced and there’s definitely grip. I think we see some cars already below the 1’20s, so there’s some pretty quick lap times around here. So yeah, quite fast early on.”

Having driven the most laps on the day of any driver other than Pierre Gasly, Ricciardo says he was pleased with the early reliability of the MCL36 over the first two testing days.

“I think with testing, the first thing you want to do is get laps in,” Ricciardo said. “So to do well over 100 laps on my first day was really good. So from reliability, [it was] nice.

“The one thing you want is laps. We’ve had both days over 100 laps, so we’re in a good position from that point of view of reliability and the more laps we do, the more things we can test and learn from the car. So I think we’re in a good place from that point of view.”

While Mercedes driver George Russell suggested that McLaren and Ferrari look strong in the early phase of testing, Ricciardo said he’s not focused on where the team end the test on the timesheets.

“It’s hard to quantify who’s ahead at the moment, for sure,” he said. “We seem to be up the pointy end of the times.

“I don’t think Mercedes, Red Bull have really done anything, showing any cards yet, so I don’t really look too much. Ferrari – I think they they look solid, they look consistently good.

“But I’m trying not to read too much into it yet. It’s still early and [we should] focus on ourselves. I think there’s definitely some good things I feel in the car and, as always, some things to work on. But I think we’ve started off with a good base.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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4 comments on “Ricciardo “expected worse” from handling of F1’s radical new cars”

  1. Good to see that Mclaren are getting a heap of laps in, as have most of the others. Points to a fairly good start for the season unlike 2014 when the last set of big changes arrived.
    Nice to see even Haas and Alfa get at least some decent running too.

    1. Interesting you mention 2014.

      McLaren were 2nd and 3rd in the first race of the season but were then out-developed over the coming months.

  2. Coventry Climax
    25th February 2022, 1:36

    When he says he expected worse, isn’t that some kind of lack of trust or confidence in the engineering and design department? They’ve done a better job than I expected?
    Maybe I’m trying to read too much into it, but still a strange thing to say, I feel.

    1. Heavier cars, with far less effective suspension travel. You would expect them to be “worse”.

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