Daniel Ricciardo put his upgraded McLaren to good use at the Spanish Grand Prix, with P7 on the grid representing a “mini breakthrough”.
But Ricciardo wrote an important new chapter in his McLaren career during qualifying in Barcelona, putting himself P7 on the grid.
His set-up changes are working, as are the tweaked front wing and floor, which all combined to make Ricciardo a more settled driver in the MCL35M.
“Probably the set-up, which then allowed me to drive better and more confidently,” said Ricciardo when asked to explain his gains.
“The car was tricky yesterday. I just didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in the high-speed stuff, to be honest.
“So I think that showed today. I think in sector one we were pretty quick, I went purple a few times.
“Once you get into one, you pretty much just jump on the throttle and hold on. And so I certainly had the confidence to hold on to it today.
“And we brought some updates. And I think basically, we improved the set-up to make the updates work today. So that was probably when we found the pace.
“There are still some corners on track which I’m still finding my way [at], so to speak. So it’s a mini breakthrough, let’s say that.”
Final result from Qualifying sees Daniel in P7 and Lando in P9.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) May 8, 2021
Ricciardo is pleased he is starting to change the “narrative” which has been focused on him taking a while to hit form, but he said credit was also due to Norris who has been performing at a high level.
“The narrative for sure has been that it’s taken time to get up to speed and also I think Lando has been driving exceptionally well. So these two factors have been challenging, I guess,” he admitted.
“It’s certainly a more positive day and in saying that, there’s still a little bit of what could have been because we missed the last run [in Q3]. We ran out of time.”