In qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix, there were 0047 seconds between the two McLaren pilots, in Imola 0049. And although Daniel Ricciardo faced 2:0 in the internal duel against Lando Norris, the figures alone do not reflect the whole truth.
For the fabulous time of Norris in Q3, which would have been sufficient for position three, was deleted from the FIA Race Guide (Tracklimits). Otherwise, Ricciardo’s delay would have increased to almost four tenths of its customers.
Similarly, Ricciardo’s delays were similar for the other drivers who switched teams in winter. Sebastian Vettel lost about three tenths of his clients to Lance Stroll at Aston Martin, Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari just as much on Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso almost half a second on Esteban Ocon in the Alpine.
Especially on a route like Imola, the lack of experience and trust of the switchers in their new Boliden seems to be evident. It is difficult to name a number,”Ricciardo says to the question of how well he feels at McLaren on the second weekend of the race.
“Even if I personally do not get everything out yet, the view on the potential of the car gives me confidence –that is there, and it is pretty good”, stresses with regard to the deleted Norris time. Only Ricciardo himself is not yet able to squeeze the maximum out of the MCL35M.
Ricciardo is enthusiastic: “Everything very closely together”
“The car can do even more than I think it can with regard to the curve peed.” Although he has already found confidence in the car, he still has to work on his driving style. “The car can do more than I think it can with the curve peed.” I still have some old habits to shake off,”he admits.
But he does not want to make this an excuse at all, but at the most as an explanation for the imaginary delay on his teammates.” Some things do not work so well in this car [unlike my previous one], but with each round I will be better.”
When will Ricciardo have arrived at McLaren completely?” Hopefully sooner than later, but the more rounds I spin, the faster I get. Hopefully we will soon see the real potential, because it is encouraging to be in the middle.”
“Mittendrin”means four tenths of customers away from the pole position on Saturday in Imola. The top 8 was only separated by 0487 seconds, the narrowest decision since 2012. “One can look forward to many things this year, in general everything is very close together”, Ricciardo is enthusiastic.
He himself is happy to be able to talk in the front middle field.” I’m happy about our progress on Saturday. And there’s more to come. I will be patient, but also stubborn.”