Daniel Ricciardo is well aware that there is clear room for improvement in his second year at McLaren in 2022.
Ricciardo joined McLaren from the team formerly known as Renault ahead of the 2021 campaign and there was a widespread expectation that, with his considerable race-winning experience, he would be able to pose a serious threat to team-mate Lando Norris on the other side of the McLaren garage.
Even though Ricciardo can look back fondly on the 2021 season – a sensational victory at the Italian Grand Prix earned on merit being the clear season highlight – the year overall has been a tough, transitional one where he lost both the qualifying and points battles to Norris.
The Aussie is not letting his Monza moment mask the clear areas he needs to address.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) December 19, 2021
“[It] started not great, got better, but still with some dips,” Ricciardo told Motorsport.com when asked to summarise his first year with McLaren.
“Definitely happier with the second half. But there’s still some things to work on, so I’m not like overwhelmed with it.
“Let’s say I made a step, but clearly I still need to make another one next year to get where I want to be, and probably more on Saturdays just to give me that track position for Sunday and keep me out of a little bit more of a mess.
“So that’s what I’ll work on.”
Ricciardo’s season finished with a below-par P12 in Abu Dhabi and that was a result he could have no real complaints about.
He concluded: “I think I got up to ninth, then I think I was sitting there and I feel like I had a bit more pace than [Esteban] Ocon.
“But it was still tricky to overtake, and ultimately probably I didn’t have enough pace to get by, and so that was that.
“And then I think the VSC, Gasly and Fernando [Alonso] were able to jump us so that put us out, and then we’re just kind of out of position then so a bit tricky.
“I think we had a bit more pace in clear air, but to be honest that’s on me, that’s what happens when you qualify 10th and you’re in I guess that park.”
The first part of Ricciardo’s off-season does not sound like a particularly fun one as he completes a two-week quarantine period back home in Australia.