Daniel Ricciardo put his upgraded McLaren to good use at the Spanish Grand Prix, with P7 on the grid representing a “mini breakthrough”.
The 2021 campaign has not been smooth sailing so far for the Australian. Brought in to be the senior McLaren driver, he has more often than not found himself lagging behind team-mate Lando Norris.
But Ricciardo wrote an important new chapter in his McLaren career during qualifying in Barcelona, putting himself P7 on the grid.
His set-up changes are working, as are the tweaked front wing and floor, which all combined to make Ricciardo a more settled driver in the MCL35M.
“Probably the set-up, which then allowed me to drive better and more confidently,” said Ricciardo when asked to explain his gains.
“The car was tricky yesterday. I just didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in the high-speed stuff, to be honest.
“So I think that showed today. I think in sector one we were pretty quick, I went purple a few times.
“Once you get into one, you pretty much just jump on the throttle and hold on. And so I certainly had the confidence to hold on to it today.
“And we brought some updates. And I think basically, we improved the set-up to make the updates work today. So that was probably when we found the pace.
“There are still some corners on track which I’m still finding my way [at], so to speak. So it’s a mini breakthrough, let’s say that.”
Final result from Qualifying sees Daniel in P7 and Lando in P9.
Bring on tomorrow. 👊#SpanishGP 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/6AEwTu51Xb
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) May 8, 2021
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Ricciardo is pleased he is starting to change the “narrative” which has been focused on him taking a while to hit form, but he said credit was also due to Norris who has been performing at a high level.
“The narrative for sure has been that it’s taken time to get up to speed and also I think Lando has been driving exceptionally well. So these two factors have been challenging, I guess,” he admitted.
“It’s certainly a more positive day and in saying that, there’s still a little bit of what could have been because we missed the last run [in Q3]. We ran out of time.”
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