McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has compared his MCL36 to a dance partner that is not moving to the same rhythm as him to explain why things have not been working out since he joined.
The Australian has not been on the pace of team-mate Lando Norris since the start of last season, and his victory in Monza back in September was one of the few highlights of an otherwise disappointing tenure at the British side.
He has scored points on 17 occasions in the last 34 races, while Norris has managed the same feat 30 times, so while the 33-year-old is not doing an altogether bad job, he has a team-mate next to him doing an exceptional one.
Given a car with the kind of performance that he had in his Red Bull though, he is confident that he would bring home the results.
“Give me a winning car, and I’ll win,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports.
“I don’t feel I’ve ever left a win on the table. But that’s the challenge that lies ahead of us, with myself and with the team at McLaren.
“It’s like, ‘let’s figure this out, I’m wanting to take on this challenge with you. Let’s figure it out. Because you’ve given me this and I will give you this’.
“Yeah, that’s the confidence I have in myself and that’s ultimately why I still wake up wanting to do it.”
The eight-time race winner issued a statement recently confirming, amid much speculation about his immediate future, that he will be staying at McLaren next season.
He felt the need to make it clear what his contractual situation is with the team, and that all parties intend to honour his deal that keeps him at the Woking side until the end of 2023.
“I know what I’ve got, I know my future, I know my contract,” explained Ricciardo.
“People obviously created questions and their own answers, so it was just setting it straight.
“Also people that support me it’s like letting them know that still means a lot to me.
“Those bad days are sometimes the best days because it ignites that fire, and it’s like, okay, I get that feeling in my gut and I’m like, ‘okay, this still means a lot’.”
As for his feeling within the car, Ricciardo does not quite feel at one with the MCL36 at the moment.
“The car is really connected to you, you’re strapped in, it’s part of you and you need it to be part of you,” he added.
“Every kind of movement you do, the car needs to move with you and at times, at least for me, the feeling I’m trying to chase is not always like that, it’s not always connected.
“And so it won’t respond maybe in sync with me.
“And then there’s a little bit of perhaps uncertainty of what’s going to happen next.
“It’s like, I don’t dance, but trying to dance with a partner and if you aren’t in sync, then you aren’t dancing, we can’t dance.”
The former Toro Rosso, Red Bull and Renault driver feels as though he is starting to gain a better understanding of how to make the car work for him.
“I feel we’re getting closer to it and I feel like we come out of every weekend, whether it’s a good or bad weekend and we’re like, ‘okay, this now makes more sense,’” affirmed Ricciardo.
“We’ve kind of just been a little bit up and down.
“Ultimately, we’re now in a fight for fourth in the Championship and that’s certainly now our target to maintain fourth.
“So it’s not over yet, of course, but yeah, it hasn’t been the first six months we wanted.”
Ricciardo’s ninth-placed finish at the French Grand Prix on Sunday was the first time he has scored points in two consecutive races this season.