Ricciardo: I’m Still Trying To Solve Puzzle Of ‘Peculiar’ McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that he is still struggling to master McLaren’s 2021 challenger, saying he immediately knew that it was a “different beast” to the Renault he raced with last season.

The Australian driver joined McLaren from the French works team at the end of 2020, and he has been comprehensively outpaced by Lando Norris at most of the grand prix contested so far this campaign.

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In an interview this week, Ricciardo said he is still trying to solve the puzzle of the “peculiar” McLaren MCL35M.

“I knew straight away it was a different beast,” he said in an interview with The Race.

“I’d be lying if I said the Renault wasn’t a different beast to the Red Bull, so they are all different. But there’s certainly some things where this car is slightly more peculiar. That’s the puzzle that I’m still trying to solve.

“But every car will respond and react differently, and this one’s got a couple of other things, I guess,” he added.

Meanwhile, Andrea Stella, McLaren’s executive director of racing, admitted that their car requires “special adaptation” and outlined the strengths and weaknesses of their 2021 challenger.

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“What we kept is some characteristics of our car that make it very special to drive, which we see with the experience

Daniel is going through because he came from the opposite end in terms of how you would like to drive a Formula 1 car,” Stella said.

“Our car requires some special adaptation, while we work to improve this aspect.

“It’s no secret that our car is good in high-speed corners and may not be the best car when you have to roll speed in mid-corner.

“We are trying to adjust some of the characteristics to make it a little bit more manageable to drive.

“At the same time, the important thing to deliver is aerodynamic efficiency, even if we couldn’t necessarily improve in terms of balance and [driver] exploitation of the car.

“We are relatively happy with the rate of improvement of aerodynamic efficiency that we have been able to achieve in early races and hopefully a little bit more will be coming in the next races,” he added. 

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