Ricciardo feels McLaren have taken a step back

Finley Crebolder
Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

After day one, Daniel Ricciardo feels like McLaren have taken a step back relative to other teams at Paul Ricard.

After being slower than their main rivals Ferrari at the street circuits, the British team headed to France hoping that wouldn’t be the case again.

Things looked good in FP1, with Ricciardo and Lando Norris in P6 and P9 respectively, but in the afternoon session, they could only claim P10 and P14, looking to be in the lower-midfield bracket.

He isn’t sure just what happened, but Ricciardo says it feels like the team has gone backwards after it.

“The morning was alright, I think we got off to a good start,” the Aussie said.

“The afternoon a bit trickier, we’re still not sure really why we lost the pace. The track did change a bit, I know track temp did come up nearly 10°C so it certainly has a bit of an effect on the balance.

“But yeah, we seem to have maybe taken a step back and the others a step forward.

“I’m not concerned, but for sure we’ll look into it this evening and try and understand that and come out tomorrow and show the speed we did this morning.”

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The weather caused problems for many drivers, with high winds and changing temperatures making things somewhat difficult for them.

Reflecting on his day, Norris says those conditions did indeed have a considerable role in how things went.

“Tough first day, tricky conditions playing the biggest part,” he said.

“The temperature made it difficult to keep the tyres in a good window. So, driving the car became a bit of a challenge especially with the wind.

“I think we’ve got a few bits we can definitely improve upon, but we still have quite a bit of work to do. It’s very close with the rest of the field so every little bit is going to help – but it’s also going to make qualifying tough going into tomorrow.

“Hopefully, we can find a little bit extra to make our lives a little bit easier.”

The team will at least take some encouragement from the fact that, in FP1, neither Charles Leclerc nor Carlos Sainz finished inside the top-10, with Alpine looking the strongest of the midfield runners across the day instead.

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