Daniel Ricciardo suggests surprising reason for McLaren failure

Despite winning the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo’s time at McLaren will go down as a failure as the Australian is replaced by Oscar Piastri in 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo’s career has not gone how he would have expected it to since joining McLaren, as the Australian was rarely able to match teammate Lando Norris and challenge as high up the grid as the team wanted him to.

Both Ricciardo and McLaren have admitted that both parties tried everything possible to make the 33-year-old’s time with the team successful, but after nothing seems to have worked the team have decided to cut Ricciardo’s contract short and enlist young Oscar Piastri for 2023.

The McLaren is a famously difficult car to drive, with multiple drivers agreeing that the car caters to a very specific driving style, which not everyone finds it easy to adapt to.

Speaking about his time at McLaren, Ricciardo believes that his desire to master the car could have been his downfall, as he feels that he got lost in overanalysing his performances and lost his natural driving instincts.

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“I think already last year during the summer break it occurred to me that I was driving very consciously, and it just wasn’t natural anymore and I was just one step behind,” Ricciardo told the In the Fast Lane podcast.

“One thing I keep thinking back to is my very first qualifying with McLaren. I outqualified Lando. We’d only had I think a day and a half of testing because it was three days across two drivers, at the beginning of 2021.

“I still didn’t really know the car, and I don’t know how many times I outqualified him over the two years but it wasn’t much.

“To have done it when I was probably just driving more off feel and instinct and a lack of knowledge about the car, that was actually probably when I was better off.”

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Ricciardo had become the master of the late braking at Red Bull, divebombing opponents into corners to complete stunning overtakes, and the Australian feels like the McLaren did not allow him to use all of his strengths, such is the specificity of the driving style it requires.

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The 33-year-old has suggested that he tried too hard to mould himself around the car, that he lost sight of his own talent and style as he tried to force the car to work for him.

“Did I then start to try too hard? And did we then try to engineer it too hard and get away from my strengths, and then try to drive the car in a certain way, which was maybe a weakness for me and something that I couldn’t really grasp?

“I don’t know. It’s an interesting one,” concluded the eight-time race winner.