Daniel Ricciardo produced a big improvement on his Austrian qualifying performances at Silverstone – but was still not completely satisfied.
The Australian has been struggling in his first year with McLaren to get to grips with the MCL35M, put in the shade by team-mate Lando Norris – one of the Formula 1 season’s star performers so far.
But after qualifying P13 for both of the two recent races in Austria, Ricciardo was a much more competitive P7 in the one-hour session at Silverstone that decided the grid for Saturday’s new ‘sprint race’ – the result of which determines the starting order for the main event on Sunday.
Despite finishing only 0.002sec behind Norris, who had been on the front row for the latest race at the Red Bull Ring, Ricciardo had his eye on a position further up the grid.
“It’s overall definitely a better day,” the 32-year-old, who has reached the 10-year anniversary of his F1 debut at the 2011 British Grand Prix for the HRT team, told Sky F1.
“I’m a little frustrated because I feel like there was a little bit more. I think we had a bit more in the last run and looking at the times I think Charles [Leclerc] was maybe half a tenth in front in P4 from memory, so I feel like that was achievable.
“Looking at the last few qualifyings, for sure everyone would be like ‘it’s a lot better’ and it is. But maybe that’s why I’m frustrated because I feel like there was even more today. I’m somewhat in the middle at the moment.”
Qualifying finishes. 🏁
Lando will line up in P6 for tomorrow’s Sprint Race with Daniel in P7.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) July 16, 2021
You can follow all the action from the brand-new sprint race weekend via F1 TV Pro! Subscribe here for the ultimate F1 viewing experience.
F1 TV Access, meanwhile, is available in over 30 territories and the full list of eligible countries can be found here.
Something Ricciardo was particularly happy with was the different format, which is being trialled for the first time at the British Grand Prix and probably twice more during the course of the season.
It meant the competitive action started a day earlier than usual, rather than Friday merely consisting of two practice sessions.
“Today I’ve really enjoyed it – I’ve really liked one practice and straight into qualifying,” added Ricciardo, who will be hoping to make another of his fast starts in the 17-lap ‘race’ on Saturday afternoon.
“We had [less practice] a couple of times last year at Imola and Nurburgring (the latter due to poor weather) and it was cool, it just kind of makes you get on with it.
“Who knows what tomorrow is like with practice and then the sprint qualifying, but so far so good.”