'Imagine the pain': Daniel Ricciardo 'mystery' baffles F1 world

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo (pictured) for a post-season photo shoot.
The F1 world is baffle over McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo's (pictured) struggles at the beginning of the 2021 season. (Getty Images)

The F1 world has been left gobsmacked after Daniel Ricciardo's 'nightmare' under his new team McLaren continued to baffle at the Monaco GP on the weekend.

Ricciardo finished in 12th on the weekend and younger teammate Lando Norris lapped the Australian on the famous streets of Monaco.

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Speaking after the race, Ricciardo said he would try to move on from the horror weekend as quickly as possible.

“I think the whole weekend was simply just a weekend to forget, for me personally,” Ricciardo said.

“Obviously car 4 (Norris) and the rest of the team got a podium and I obviously want to congratulate them and they got it right.

“I don’t even know if we got it wrong, we just never got going. We didn’t really do a crazy different set-up, the cars are, I want to say, nearly identical from a set-up point of view, I’m not really trying to be too clever with that either, I’ve got more to learn with this car than Lando does, so I’m not trying to be too different.

"Trying to follow suit and move forward but just a strange weekend really from the get-go and one to forget.

“I’m probably not going to over-analyse this one, just move forward for Baku and go from there.”

Former F1 drivers question Ricciardo's struggles

But Ricciardo's struggles have become a huge talking point among former drivers.

Former F1 star Martin Brundle, wrote for Sky Sports, said the moment Norris passed him made him 'wince' for the Aussie.

“Monaco GP winner Daniel Ricciardo had a nightmare event finishing 12th and lapped by his teammate Norris," he said.

“That made me wince so I can’t imagine the pain he is feeling right now as he struggles with the characteristics of the McLaren versus his driving style.”

F1 commentator Jack Nichols went a step further to claim Ricciardo's recent struggles remain one of the "biggest mysteries in modern Formula 1".

“There’s not many F1 drivers out there who are a second slower than their teammate, especially when you get to the Ricciardo-Norris level,” Nicholls told the Chequered Flag Podcast.

“What surprised me was he didn’t show any better really in the grand prix. There were times he was not keeping with the cars in front. Maybe he was playing a long game but he didn’t go much longer than anybody else … there was nothing shown in the race.

“That’s the strange thing with Ricciardo. He hasn’t got anything, anywhere, this weekend, and although he looked better in Barcelona, it feels like one of the biggest mysteries of modern Formula 1.”

Former F1 driver calls for Ricciardo calm

Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer agreed Ricciardo's struggles was 'very weird' and he couldn't quite work it out.

“Something’s up. It’s very weird. But it’s five races in, let’s judge a little bit later,” Palmer told the Chequered Flag Podcast.

“Plus, in Barcelona he had a pretty good drive and beat Lando, even Bahrain his first race he out-qualified Norris.

“This weekend was baffling and I do agree with the sentiment, it is very weird how much he’s struggling."

But Palmer said the Australian needed time to adjust to his new team, which was something a few drivers were struggling with across the board.

“He could fall back on the fact that all the drivers at new teams are struggling, ‘It just seems to be something we’re all going through’. A couple of races later and Vettel’s finishing fifth in an Aston Martin with a superb drive getting right onto terms with (teammate Lance) Stroll," he said.

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