The 2021 pre-season testing was reduced to only three days. This made it difficult for drivers who switched teams to get used to their cars.
This was especially true for Daniel Ricciardo, who despite his wealth of experience and skill as a driver, was lagging well behind his teammate Lando Norris at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
On race day, Ricciardo was told on the radio to let Norris overtake him as he was considerably faster. Norris proved this by disappearing ahead of Ricciardo just after the overtake.
Norris went on to score podium with a P3. Ricciardo, on the other hand, managed a credible P6.
Ricciardo accepts that his performance was not up to the mark, especially after Norris managed to extract the most out of his MCL35M car.
“Sixth, the result looks all right on paper but I wasn’t fast,” he said after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“A bit like most of the weekend, but obviously Lando got a podium and had stronger pace for at least the majority of the race.
“So I think on one side that’s really positive but obviously on my side, I need to figure out not what’s going wrong but just what I can do better. I don’t want to be too hard on myself but I’ll accept defeat for the moment and just work and see what I can keep improving.
“I think even if personally I’m not getting everything out of it yet, the thing that gives me confidence is obviously looking at the potential of the car. It’s there and it’s pretty good.
“It can do more than I think it can as far as just carrying more speed through the corners and the car is going to stick, so there’s a little bit of trust in the car.
“But I don’t think it’s like, just turn in and close your eyes and it’s going to stick. A lot of it is technique as well. And this, I try not to say it as excuses from the past, but there are probably just still some old habits I need to flush out a little bit and things that maybe don’t work as well for this car.
“I’m definitely in a productive mindset and not in a defeatist mindset. I certainly see the positives and for the team as well. [In] the second race, to get a podium already, I think it’s a good start.
“It’s encouraging to be up in the mix. So a lot to be excited for this year. I think the sport in general is all pretty tight and so I’m okay with that. I’m certainly happy with the progress we made at Imola and there’s still more to come. So I’ll be patient yet persistent.”
Ricciardo admits that Norris was considerably faster than him. He added that even though he managed to make it to P5 with the intermediate tyres, he dropped his pace after “losing the front right”.
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