Ricciardo feeling like ‘a beginner all over again’

Date published: May 16 2021 - Finley Crebolder

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo says that, making a start to life with McLaren, he feels like a beginner again and back in school.

Ricciardo moved from Renault to McLaren over the winter and has been open about his struggles to get comfortable with his new team.

The Australian has previously stated the difference between his old and new teams is bigger than the previous difference to which he had to adapt between Red Bull and Renault.

In fact, the difference is so big it is making him feel like he is starting out again.

“It’s like being a beginner all over again, being tutored every corner!” he said.

“‘Good job, do that better, okay, improve a bit more here’. Obviously the feedback I’m getting from the team is good and they are trying to get me into some good habits with this car and the characteristics.

“So things like that, whether it’s braking or the way you get on the throttle, it’s something unique and I guess I’m still having to be a little bit conscious about that and teach myself enough that it does become natural.”

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The Spanish Grand Prix weekend was Ricciardo’s best of the season as, for the first time, he was the quicker of the two McLarens in both qualifying and on race day.

Reflecting on it, he says being at a more familiar track to him than Imola and Portimao was a key factor.

“Barcelona’s so familiar, and I think some familiarity is good for me right now to kind of get up to speed,” he added.

“So I was certainly more comfortable. Say if there are 15 corners on that track, 10 of them I would say I was feeling good in, but there’s still a handful I know I can execute better [and] I know over time I’ll start to find those extra little half tenths here and there to get a bit more out of the car.

“It still does require a bit of thought in some corners. I think the quicker corners are a bit easier – you kind of just chuck it in and hold on.

“But these kinds of longer corners where you’re in the corner for a long time and having to be quite delicate and precise, that’s where…the car is sensitive, and it’s working well in some ways but not well the others, and I think I’m certainly trying to programme myself to basically learn how to drive faster. So I’m back at school!”

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