Daniel Ricciardo is targeting a return to consistently high-level performances in the second half of the season after a tough time in the first 11 races.
The McLaren driver trails his team-mate Lando Norris in the Drivers’ standings by 47 points at the halfway mark of the year and has largely been outpaced by the Briton in qualifying and race trim in 2022.
He recently issued a statement confirming he will continue with McLaren for the duration of his contract, until the end of 2023, and both Ricciardo and the team admit their relationship has not lived up to expectations thus far.
Ricciardo made it back into the points positions, P9 in Austria after finishing P11 and P13 in Canada and Britain respectively, and he acknowledged he is not realistically in the picture for the higher placings at the moment – but aims to gain better control of his MCL36 and mount more of a challenge from here on by regularly breaking into the top six, while decreasing his ‘off’ days.
Should he achieve his initial target, the 2021 Italian Grand Prix winner hopes to find himself back in podium contention later in the season.
Daniel Ricciardo on fans booing:
“I’m not going to control the grandstands and all of their emotions…but we are human beings and I think people have to remember that sometimes.”
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) July 16, 2022
“I’m just being real – there hasn’t been any strong signs [of a win] so far this year,” Ricciardo told Express Sport.
“But I don’t think anyone would have predicted me winning a race last year. That made it a really beautiful thing because it reminded me anything is possible, especially in this sport.
“The higher up the grid I am, the happier I’ll be with the result. It’s just trying to get to a place where I’m performing consistently at a high level, especially with this car.
“That’s where I haven’t been able to do what I expected of myself, which is to get top sixes every weekend and not have many off weekends. Trying to eliminate those would be a basic goal for me.
“Of course, to get back on the podium. At this point, it doesn’t even have to be a win. To get back on the podium and in the top three would be a nice one to have in the next few months.”
Ricciardo and Norris’ combined total for McLaren is currently 81 points, level with Alpine in the Constructors’ Championship with two races remaining before the Formula 1 season halts for summer.
The curious case of McLaren in 2022
McLaren have had arguably the biggest peaks and troughs of the year so far, in terms of how varying their performance has been.