Ricciardo confident of points with McLaren F1 upgrades

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo believes McLaren is in the hunt for points at this weekend’s Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix.

The Australian is coming off the back of two difficult races, after picking up damage on the opening lap in Imola, and then battling a car unsuited to the Miami International Autodrome last time out.

In the opening five races of the year, he’s managed just one points-paying result, sixth at the Australian Grand Prix in early April.

This weekend’s race marks a return to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which hosted the first of two pre-season tests.

It was during those opening three days that McLaren offered strong promise, before striking trouble at the following test in Bahrain.

The event therefore offers the potential of strong performance from the team, and an opportunity to validate and correlate its learnings since February.

“Spain was a good race for me last year so I’m looking forward to getting back out there in the new-regulation cars and really get the most out of the MCL36,” Ricciardo said.

“Having tested here back in February, we have more of an idea on what to expect under the new regulations than we do at other race weekends.

“It will be good to see where we can make improvements and put the upgrades we’re bringing to the test.

“Our performance since Bahrain has showed we can consistently fight for the top 10, so it will be great to get back on track and keep at it.”

McLaren sits fourth in the constructors’ championship heading into what is Round 6 of the season on 46 points, 49 down on third-placed Mercedes.

“Whilst the race result in Miami wasn’t what we wanted it to be, the team are fully focused on the Barcelona weekend and the European double-header ahead of us,” said team boss Andreas Seidl.

“Spain is a great all-rounder track, with a nice mixture of high- and low-speed corners, plus areas that are more technically difficult.

“We’ve had some solid results there over the last few years with good points scored, which we’re looking to continue this year.

“We are bringing some upgrades to the car for the weekend,” he added.

“I know it’s been an extremely busy week or so for many of the teams making changes ahead of Barcelona so it’s going to continue to be a tight fight for points.

“We performed well at this track in pre-season testing so it will be interesting to see how our car will perform with the upgrades we’ve made since then.

“Hopefully we can have some good battles and get both cars back into the fight for good points.”

Lando Norris is also hopeful of a strong showing after he retired from the Miami Grand Prix following contact to Pierre Gasly.

“We got some good running in at the track during February testing so I’m looking forward to adding everything we’ve learned from the season so far to the data we got there previously from the new-regulation cars,” he said.

“Miami highlighted that we still have a way to go to get back to consistently fighting at the top but it’s important for us to remain optimistic.

“The team are working flat out to bring upgrades to the car as we speak, so hopefully that will give us the boost we need as we head into this double-header.”

This weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix is followed by the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend.

On-track running in Barcelona begins on Friday with opening practice from 22:00 AEST.

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