McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl affirms that a combination of a lack of comfort with the car and an exquisite team-mate in Lando Norris is the reason that Daniel Ricciardo is not performing as expected currently.
Ricciardo has scored points 15 times in 29 races since his arrival last year, and he has been out-qualified on 21 occasions by Norris during that time.
The 22-year-old has out-performed the Australian 20 times in race trim, so the move from Renault at the end of 2020 has not proven at all as fruitful as one would hope.
Ricciardo’s win in Monza last year was sadly one of few highlights of a McLaren career that has never really got off the ground, and Seidl explains why.
“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,” he told RacingNews365.com.
“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.”
The 32-year-old has failed to score points in all of the last four races, including the Spanish Grand Prix where he started ninth and ended up down in 12th.
Norris climbed up into the points despite having tonsillitis that day, but the German boss revealed that there was a proclivity in the car that prevented Ricciardo from scoring points.
“Barcelona, in the race, it was simply not possible for Daniel to do a better pace. That’s something we had to analyse after the race, which we did,” added Seidl.
“We found an issue on the car which gave us an explanation, which was important, then we learned from that.”
Seidl vows to work together with his driver to figure out how to integrate him with the car and rediscover the form that has won him eight races in the past.
“All we can do, together with Daniel, with a commitment on both sides, is to simply keep working hard in order to find these last percentages,” he explained.
The former Red Bull driver ended the Monaco Grand Prix 13th after being stuck in the train caused by Fernando Alonso, and he was again far adrift of the pace of his team-mate, who ended up in P6.
He was beaten by seven tenths of a second in qualifying on Saturday as he was eliminated in Q2, but he is defiant in the face of his hardship, and wants to return to points scoring form as soon as he can.
“It’s been a while now so I wish it still wasn’t the case, but I think the reality is that and I think there will be some tracks where it just clicks from the first practice and we’re good, but I think I’ll expect to probably still work at it and try to keep trying!” he explained after the race on Sunday.
“I won’t go down without a fight but of course I don’t wish to be fighting for 13th so [I’ll] try to get back in the points soon.”
Ricciardo’s 11 points this year leave him 11th in the Drivers’ Championship, four positions and 37 points behind Norris.