'Accept defeat': Daniel Ricciardo's telling F1 admission

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
McLaren F1 teammates Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo have enjoyed a strong start to the season. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)
McLaren F1 teammates Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo have enjoyed a strong start to the season. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)

Daniel Ricciardo says he has 'accepted defeat' at the hands of F1 teammate Lando Norris for the time being as he continues to get acquainted with his new McLaren team.

While the Aussie F1 star's seventh and sixth places in the opening two rounds of the season are nothing to sneeze at, he's been clearly outpaced by Norris.

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With a fourth place in the Bahrain season opener followed up by a podium at Imola last weekend, Norris has hit the ground running against Ricciardo, who was tipped by many to be a tough challenge for the third-year star.

However Ricciardo has been quick to acknowledge his own shortcomings so far this season, declaring he can extract more pace from the car as he gets used to it and tipping his cap to his teammate.

Ricciardo was ordered to let Norris past during last weekend's Emilia Romagna GP, a decision the 31-year-old accepted.

“Sixth, the result looks all right on paper but I wasn’t fast,” he said. 

“A bit like most of the weekend but obviously Lando got a podium and had stronger pace for at least the majority of the race.

“So I think on one side that’s really positive but obviously on my side, I need to figure out not what’s going wrong but just what I can do better. 

I don’t want to be too hard on myself but I’m going to accept defeat for the moment and just work and see what I can keep improving.”

Ricciardo needed time to adjust to the Renault F1 team after leaving Red Bull for the French manufacturer in 2019, before earning two podium finishes in 2020.

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The highly competitive Aussie will no doubt be hoping to come to grips with the significantly more competitive McLaren much sooner.

“If personally I’m not getting everything out of it yet, the thing that gives me confidence is obviously looking at the potential of the car. It’s there and it’s pretty good,” Ricciardo said.

“It can do more than I think it can as far as just carrying more speed through the corners and the car is going to stick, so there’s a little bit of trust in the car.

“But I don’t think it’s like, just turn in and close your eyes and it’s going to stick. A lot of it is technique as well. 

"And this, I try not to say it as excuses from the past, but there is probably just still some old habits that that I need to flush out a little bit and things that maybe don’t work as well for this car.”

Mick Schumacher's tumultuous start to F1 career

While Ricciardo isn't 100% satisfied with his start to the season, F1 rookie Mick Schumacher has described being stuck at the back of the field in an uncompetitive Haas as 'torture'.

Making his debut in F1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix three weeks ago, the son of legendary driver Michael Schumacher was last finisher and lapped by the majority of his rivals.

Schumacher then finished two laps down in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday, joining Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin at the back of the pack.

Mick Schumacher has endured a tough start to his F1 career with the Haas F1 team. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Mick Schumacher has endured a tough start to his F1 career with the Haas F1 team. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

“I don’t really realise what I’m doing when I’m in the car, let’s say facial expressions wise or feelings wise, I just love driving so I enjoy what I’m doing,” he told Channel 4.

“And I don’t enjoy it when I’m not first so it’s kind of a torture driving at the back with no real competition.”

But despite the two 16th-placed finishes, the young driver is remaining upbeat about his slow start to life at the elite level.

"Therefore I have to make myself a grand prix, so let’s say if I have Nicholas [Latifi] in front of me or (George) Russell, it’s just like for me they are the leaders and I have to catch them,” he continued.

“That’s the game that I’m playing to always stay motivated, to always keep on pushing and always be 100%.”

The younger Schumacher won the Formula 2 and Formula 3 titles on his way to F1.

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