Ricciardo keeping ‘positive mindset’ as he looks to bounce back in Spain

McLaren walked away from a race scoreless for the second time this season following a difficult weekend in Miami.

Daniel Ricciardo is aiming to score points for only the third time this season when he heads to the Spanish Grand Prix following his nightmare weekend in Miami.

Ricciardo had looked competitive relative to team-mate Lando Norris prior to qualifying in Florida, but an issue with start-up put him out of contention for a Q3 spot, and he ended the race in P13.

The Australian never really looked in a position to press on and score points during the race, and it followed a disappointing afternoon in Imola after he qualified well, but hit Carlos Sainz off the start.

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The subsequent damage to his diffuser left him running around outside the points for the entirety of the grand prix, but it was preceded by points in the sprint and his home race in Australia.

The 32-year-old’s season has been extremely inconsistent though, as evidenced by the woeful car in Bahrain that saw him finish 14th, and the reliability failure in Jeddah that put him out of contention having been running in the top 10.

The Spanish Grand Prix might be the perfect opportunity to turn things around, as it was the first time since last season that he out-qualified and out-raced Norris in the same weekend.

“I’m looking forward to going to Spain!” said Ricciardo in McLaren’s race preview.

“There were some good battles in Miami with great support as always from the fans, but it proved to be a tough circuit for the team. Looking to Spain, we have to keep a positive mindset and apply everything we learned from last race weekend.  

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“Spain was a good race for me last year so I’m looking forward to getting back out there in the new regulation cars and really get the most out of the MCL36. 

“Having tested here back in February, we have more of an idea on what to expect under the new regulations than we do at other race weekends. It will be good to see where we can make improvements and put the upgrades we’re bringing to the test.

“Our performance since Bahrain has showed we can consistently fight for the top 10, so it will be great to get back on track and keep at it. We’ll keep pushing and keep coming back stronger.” 

Norris fared slightly better in Miami, but a slow stop under the intense heat put him outside the points, before Pierre Gasly gave him a race-ending puncture while trying to coax his wounded AlphaTauri back to the pits following contact with Fernando Alonso.

McLaren performed well during the first pre-season test in Barcelona, so the Briton hopes that can translate into a better result this weekend.

“I’m excited to be heading back to Europe and racing in Barcelona this weekend,” added Norris.

“I like the circuit in Spain as it has some nice features, a mixture of challenges and speeds, and a great crowd. I’ve put the retirement in Miami behind me and I’m fully focused on the race ahead.  

“We got some good running in at the track during February testing so I’m looking forward to adding everything we’ve learned from the season so far to the data we got there previously from the new regulation cars. 

“Miami highlighted that we still have a way to go to get back to consistently fighting at the top but it’s important for us to remain optimistic. 

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“The team are working flat out to bring upgrades to the car as we speak, so hopefully that will give us the boost we need as we head into this double header. Let’s keep at it!”  

Team principal Andreas Seidl confirmed that the team have upgrades on the way this weekend as the Woking side look to solidify their position at the top of the midfield battle.