McLaren CEO Zak Brown defended driver Daniel Ricciardo from his critics, saying that every driver needs time to adapt.

Ricciardo arrived at McLaren to much fanfare and hype. However, he failed to live up to the lofty expectations set for him, and had a lacklustre debut season with his new team.

Even though we saw glimpses of prime Daniel, it was still an average season for his standards. He was also beaten by his teammate Lando Norris, who scored more points than him in 2021, something he was criticised for.

However, Brown defended Ricciardo from his critics, saying that what happened with him was completely natural.

“I think if we look back, he also needed some time at Renault to get up to speed,” Brown told GPFans.

“In addition, Ricciardo’s performance is overshadowed by the strong performance of his teammate. I think if you have to compete against Norris, who is as fast as the best drivers in Formula 1, then you know you have to go to the limit.”

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo hug. Italy September 2021
Ricciardo (right) celebrates with his teammate after his win at Monza. Source: planetf1.com

Revival

“We saw a different Ricciardo in the second half of the year,” the American continued.

“Then he had the speed and much more confidence in the car. We saw in Monza what he is capable of and that was a huge achievement.

“The best quality of him is that he is a great teammate, not just for Lando, but for everyone in the pit box.”

Ricciardo did have one blockbuster moment, and that was the performance at Monza Brown talked about. At the Temple of Speed, he took the lead at the start, and drove a faultless race to come home in first place for his new team.

It was McLaren’s first victory in many years, and it came from the Australian. That’s what they signed him for, and that’s what they will be expecting in 2022.

Read more: Ricciardo sends open warning to Ferrari – “I like having a target and something to chase”

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