Seidl: Ricciardo’s US F1 drive better than Monza win
By Mat Coch
Monday 25th October, 2021 - 10:25am
Daniel Ricciardo’s drive to fifth in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix marked his best performance of the season according to team boss Andreas Seidl.
The Australian proved punchy on the opening lap in passing Carlos Sainz, before putting up a strong defence in the latter part of the race to maintain the spot.
That included a brush with the Ferrari driver as they squabbled over the place, Ricciardo holding on to record his 12th points finish of the season.
“It was definitely a very strong weekend from Daniel,” Seidl said.
“I think it’s fair to say it was, together with Monza, probably his strongest weekend with us – maybe even fair to say was his best weekend with us so far on a track that has a lot of different corner types as well.
“I’m very happy with what he could pull off this weekend and was also a great performance from his side today to keep Carlos behind the entire race and being under massive pressure.”
Ricciardo headed McLaren’s charge in Austin, with Lando Norris unable to make up ground to come home eighth.
Perhaps more importantly for Seidl is the demonstration that there is more to come from the Australian as he continues to come to grips with the McLaren.
That comes after a race in which he proved to have lost none of his race sharpness in either attack of defence, and delivering a result beyond the team’s expectations.
“It’s just another confirmation that since the summer break he continuously improved and felt more comfortable in the in the car, which is good,” Seidl said.
“I think, and he’s saying himself, I don’t think he’s fully comfortable yet with our car in any condition, or track layout, or situation,” he added when asked by Speedcafe.com what more is to come from the eight-time race winner.
“With him now getting more and more used to it, spending more and more time in our car, spending more and more time doing laps, I think it’s just natural that there is still a lot more to come from his side, which is obviously encouraging.
“But at the same time again, it was a great weekend from his side here in Austin, and very strong drive to the end in the race where he showed why we wanted to get him onboard and get him to McLaren.”
In comparison to constructors’ championship rivals Ferrari, both Ricciardo and Norris struggled for pace at the Circuit of The Americas.
Charles Leclerc and Sainz both qualified ahead of the McLaren pairing, only for the latter to fall to seventh at the chequered flag on Sunday.
“We need to be absolutely happy with the outcome of today’s race because I think we have maximised everything that was possible for us today, or even more,” Seidl said.
“We finished ahead of one Ferrari while both Ferraris have been clearly quicker all weekend than us, so that’s an achievement.
“To keep Valtteri [Bottas] behind in the race is also something which we wouldn’t necessarily expect.
“So based on that, accepting the reality that Ferrari was simply a lot quicker this weekend than us, it was a well-handled race by the team, by both drivers, and [we] achieved what was on the cards for us today.”
Between its two drivers, the British squad banked 14 points versus the 18 accumulated by Ferrari’s driver pairing.
It means McLaren holds just a three 3.5 point advantage as the two teams squabble over third place in the constructors’ championship with five races remaining.
The next of those is the Mexico City Grand Prix, on November 5-7.