'Line in the sand': The McLaren mess that could propel Daniel Ricciardo

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Daniel Ricciardo (pictured right) smiles next to teammate Lando Norris.
Daniel Ricciardo (pictured right) outperformed teammate Lando Norris at the Spanish GP. (Getty Images)

F1 commentator Tom Clarkson has called McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo's odds following the Spanish GP as a 'line in the sand' moment after the Australian's best finish in 2021.

Riccardo was more upbeat after finishing ahead of McLaren teammate Lando Norris for the first time this season at the Spanish Grand Prix, which was won by Lewis Hamilton.

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During the race, McLaren ordered Norris to let Ricciardo pass him late in the race - a huge shock after the opposite occurred at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The race could have gone even better for Ricciardo if it wasn't for a fault of his team.

This prompted Clarkson, speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, to claim the Spanish GP could a be a 'line in a sand' moment for the duo.

“Nice for him in a way that McLaren made a bit of a mess in qualifying. They’ve completely held their hand up,” Clarkson said on the podcast.

“He didn’t get his final run in Q3 because they timed it wrong and he just didn’t cross the line in time.

"Yes, he’s come in for a bit of criticism recently — ‘Why are you taking so long to get up to speed (at a new team)’ — but actually when the team drops the ball as well, he’s probably thinking, ‘Alright, we’ve all had our moments, let’s move on together’."

Ricciardo's adjustment period with McLaren

F1 pit lane reporter and presenter Natalie Pinkham said people aren't giving Ricciardo credit for his start in a new team.

The Aussie driver made the "crazy" admission that he still isn't up to full speed in his new McLaren after Spain.

“I’m still learning, it sounds crazy to say that but still learning how to be better with this car," he added.

This resonated with Pinkham who pointed out he has out qualified Lando since making his debut for McLaren in 2021.

Daniel Ricciardo driving the (3) McLaren F1 Team MCL35M Mercedes comes in for a tyre change during the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 09, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain.
Daniel Ricciardo driving the (3) McLaren F1 Team MCL35M Mercedes comes in for a tyre change during the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 09, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“When you look at the stats he’s still 3-1 out-qualified Lando, his first four races at a team,” she said.

“That’s really impressive when you consider how much you do need to adapt when you join a new team.”

Ricciardo joked the Spanish GP was a step in the right direction after a horror Portuguese GP for the Australian.

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