Fast-starting Ricciardo hopes to benefit from sprint race

Date published: July 12 2021 - Michelle Foster

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, ahead of Red Bull and Ferrari

Daniel Ricciardo hopes his flying starts to this year’s grand prix mean the new sprint qualifying race format will play to his favour.

Moving to McLaren this season, Ricciardo has yet to set the stage alight when it comes to Saturday’s qualifying sessions.

While his team-mate Lando Norris has bagged a front row slot, Ricciardo’s best qualifying to date was his P6s at the Bahrain and Emilia Romagna races.

On four occasions he hasn’t made it out of Q2 while in Portugal he was a disappointing P16 in qualifying.

He has, however, managed to make up ground at the start of races, leaving him hopeful that Formula 1’s sprint qualifying races will benefit him.

“The way my starts have been, the last three races, I think I’ve made minimum two places every first lap,” he explained to Motorsport.com.

“So having a sprint qualifying actually means I’ll probably start further up the grid on Sunday! So I’m happy to have two race starts.

“I think probably you have to treat it like a race. If you’re being complacent then ultimately you’re going to start Sunday further back, and then you’re going to take all the risk on Sunday, and maybe risk the front wing then.

“So I would say right now the mindset would be just a normal approach, try to attack when possible and make the most of it.”

Daniel Ricciardo McLaren

View the latest Daniel Ricciardo merchandise on the official Formula 1 store

The sprint qualifying, which will be used at the British Grand Prix, will see the drivers take part in a qualifying session on the Friday afternoon.

That will determine the grid for a Saturday afternoon sprint race, the finishing order of which will make up the grid for the Sunday grand prix.

The sprint race will be a 100km dash without pit stops with the top three drivers awarded points.

Ricciardo is unsure about the lack of pit stops, saying it takes away the “team element” of races.

He said: “I mean pit stops make it fun, I’ve got used to obviously doing pit stops, and also it really gets the team involved.

“And if they execute a good pit stop, and if you undercut a car or something through a pit stop, everyone feels like they’ve contributed to that that victory or that result.

“I like the team element of it, but we’ll see what it’s like.”

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