Daniel Ricciardo truth exposed amid F1 struggles: 'Destroying him'

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Daniel Ricciardo's second F1 season with McLaren has been a failure to launch so far, but the team has backed him to turn things around. Pictures: Getty Images
Daniel Ricciardo's second F1 season with McLaren has been a failure to launch so far, but the team has backed him to turn things around. Pictures: Getty Images

Amid claims from F1 pundits that Daniel Ricciardo's results are 'destroying him', McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl has come to the Aussie star's defence.

Last weekend's Monaco GP was another miserable weekend for Ricciardo, whose chances took a significant blow when he crashed out of the second practice session in spectacular fashion.

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Starting from outside the top 10, Ricciardo wasn't able to gain any advantage from the pit stop shuffle caused by the changing weather in the race.

He finished 13th, once again outside the points as teammate Lando Norris finished an impressive sixth.

It was the second weekend in a row that saw Ricciardo mired outside the top 10 while Norris pushed the McLaren towards the front of the field.

Siedl said some of the reasons for Ricciardo's struggles were ongoing issues with the car, as well as an overly aggressive FP2 setup that contributed to the ill-timed off into the barriers.

“In general, Daniel says it himself, he still doesn‘t feel 100 per cent with the car, especially when it’s about pushing it to the absolute limit in qualifying,” Seidl said.

“He‘s up against a very strong teammate as well, with Lando, and if you put both things together, that’s the gap we are sometimes seeing.

“Barcelona, in the race, it was simply not possible for Daniel to do a better pace [than 12th]. That‘s something we had to analyse after the race, which we did.

“We found an issue on the car which gave us an explanation, which was important, then we learned from that.”

Ricciardo trails Norris in the Drivers Championship 11 points to 48, a stark difference which has prompted speculation McLaren could bring their relationship with the 32-year-old to a premature end.

The former Red Bull and Renault ace will be hoping for a better time of things when F1 heads to Azerbaijan for the Baku Grand Prix later in June.

Daniel Ricciardo in dire straights against McLaren teammate Lando Norris

Norris appears to have come to grips with the 2022 McLaren much faster than his Australian counterpart, following a 2021 season in which Ricciardo again trailed his teammate for most of the season.

Seidl came to Ricciardo's defence following remarks from former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan, who said that Norris' performances would have been verging on demoralising for his teammate.

“He’s letting races flow by, and you very seldom get a chance to claw this back,” Jordan told Channel 4.

“I think I’d be watching his career path from now on because I’m not sure how much further he can go. Lando is destroying him, mentally, physically and on the track.

“And when you have that kind of a scenario inside of a team, it gets to you. So, he needs to shake it up immediately.”

Daniel Ricciardo's crash in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix drew criticism from McLaren boss Zak Brown and ruined the Aussie's weekend. (Photo by Arthur Thill ATPImages/Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo's crash in practice for the Monaco Grand Prix drew criticism from McLaren boss Zak Brown and ruined the Aussie's weekend. (Photo by Arthur Thill ATPImages/Getty Images)

The FP2 crash was the latest setback in an under-whelming season for the Australian, and brought a sharp response from unhappy team boss Zack Brown.

Brown warned McLaren had extended their agreement with 23-year-old up-and-coming IndyCar driver Pato O'Ward, who is also eyeing a Formula One seat.

Ricciardo has a contract until 2023, but Brown said there were "mechanisms" in place that could impact negotiations.

"We've got both our drivers under contract so nothing imminent but we're starting a testing program bringing a couple of drivers in and Pato is definitely going to be one of those," said Brown, who is in Indianapolis for Sunday's Indy 500 race.

"I don't want to get into the contract but there are mechanisms which we're committed to each other and then there are mechanisms which we're not.

"I spoke to Daniel about it. We're not getting the results we hoped for but we're both going to continue to push.

"I think he showed at Monza he can win races. We also need to continue to develop our race car. It is not capable of winning races but we'd like to see him further up the grid."

With AAP

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