Daniel Ricciardo endured another tough day on track but says he isn’t going to panic as the answers to his McLaren woes continue to elude him.
The Aussie has struggled to adjust to his new car since leaving Renault at the end of last year, finishing 13th at the recent Styrian Grand Prix as he languishes in ninth in the drivers’ standings.
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There was little to smile about at practice ahead of this weekend’s Austrian GP. Ricciardo was 12th fastest in the opening session and P15 in free practice two — hardly the improvement he was looking for after last weekend — but surprisingly, the West Australian wasn’t too down about the results.
“I am a bit surprised with the classification,” Ricciardo said. “We’re just lacking a little bit, but there’s nothing that feels out of place in the car, like I assume it’s probably just a little bit everywhere.
“I know there’s not many corners here, but maybe we’re just missing half a tenth (of a second) everywhere, then that just adds up to half a second or something, and that’s what we need.
“It’s probably just some fine tuning tonight. I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel. I think like with my driving and the points that I missed out last week, and areas I was lacking, I think I definitely made a good step today.
“So it’s just trying to then just make another one tomorrow, and we’ll be in a decent place.”
After the Styrian GP, F1 pundits questioned whether Ricciardo was losing time because he was having troubles with the brakes but he didn’t seem too concerned when analysing his underwhelming times in practice, as he tries to get up to speed with his new piece of machinery.
Ricciardo isn’t hitting the panic button.Source:Getty Images
“I’m still trying to maximise the driving style that the car currently likes,” Ricciardo said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to work on. We’re getting there.
“I think today was definitely some progress, we changed a few things with the car to kind of help me get that feeling. That was positive.
“Last Friday, we were actually looking pretty good, so if you look at the classification of last week to this week, you’ll think we’re miles off. Then obviously Saturday changed completely.
“I have confidence that we can move forward for tomorrow, as opposed to stay here or move back. That’s why I probably feel even a bit better today, but we’re obviously not there on the timesheets.
“So yeah, I’m not going to panic. A little bit of fine tuning, and I think we’ll find what we need tomorrow.”
McLaren teammate Lando Norris has regularly been able to beat Ricciardo, enjoying far more success to sit fourth in the drivers’ championship. But even the young Brit struggled on the same track he finished fifth at in last week’s grand prix, only managing to post the 10th and ninth fastest times of each practice session overnight.
“We didn’t put everything together, we just tested a lot of different things,” Norris said. “Tonight we’ll do our analysis and hopefully come back tomorrow with a better package.
“I think it will be a more interesting race than last weekend, more difficult to look after the tyres, to know when to push and when not to push and so on.
“Hopefully it’s fine for us and we’ll make sure we do a good job.”
The Honey Badger is being patient.Source:AFP
Austrian GP Practice Two Timesheet (Top 10)
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:04.523
2) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, +0.189
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.217
4) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, +0.616
5) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, +0.745
6) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, +0.833
7) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, +0.856
8) Fernando Alonso, Alpine, +0.870
9) Lando Norris, McLaren, +0.943
10) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, +0.988
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