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McLaren's "special" F1 driving style hurting Ricciardo

Jun 3, 2021

Daniel Ricciardo’s adaption to McLaren is not being helped by its 2021 Formula 1 car needing a "special" driving style, says team boss Andreas Seidl.

Ricciardo has had a difficult start to his McLaren career, as he has found himself struggling to match the pace of teammate Lando Norris.

He has lacked confidence in the car, especially under braking, and has had trouble extracting maximum performance in qualifying.

Last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix was especially difficult as he was knocked out in Q2, and then found himself lapped by Norris in the race.

Seidl says McLaren is doing everything it can to try to help Ricciardo, but suggests the root of the problem is that the 2021 MCL35M does not require a normal style of driving.

“I think if you look back since the beginning of the season, we have made good steps forward with him,” said Seidl.

“But in order to drive our car fast at the moment, you need a special driving style which is not natural for Daniel. That's why it's not so easy for him to get the laps in and extract the performance.

“We simply have to keep working together now as one team: stay calm, keep analysing, and keep learning.

“And then there are two things, which is him further adapting to our car. Because obviously, he sees that the potential is there, which is I think the positive thing for him to see that, and then we can pull it off.

“Then, at the same time, we will look at the team side as well and what we can do in order to help him on the car side, to give him back his natural feeling which you need to go fast.”

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Ricciardo suggested after the Monaco Grand Prix that he could see where Norris was being quicker than him, but was struggling to be able to match what his teammate could do.

“There's differences on the data and this is why Lando's quicker in that corner and I see that, but I'm not convinced I'm able to do that,” he said.

“But we'll see. Maybe it's still a bit of me trying to get used to the car, but I'm sure they'll check everything as well. As you say, when it's that far off, it's a bit tough.”

But Ricciardo was also mindful about the dangers of trying to overanalyse the situation – and suggested it could be better to switch off for a while.

“I'm obviously going to keep working at it but I feel this weekend has been so far off and so much on the back foot, part of me also wants to just switch off for a few days, otherwise it's like paralysis over analysis,” he said.

“I've been there before and don't want to go back to that.”

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