McLaren team boss defends Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

Andreas Seidl has thrown his support behind the under-fire Daniel Ricciardo as pressure mounts on the McLaren driver.

The Australian has been caught in the crosshairs in Monaco this weekend following comments from team CEO Zak Brown during the week that his performances have not met expectations.

Ricciardo crashed out of Free Practice 2 on Friday afternoon, drawing further criticisms, though the team has taken responsibility for that incident.

Nonetheless, the pressure has continued to mount on the 32-year-old, prompting team boss Seidl to defend him when fronting the media on Saturday morning.

“I see that different,” Seidl said when asked whether Ricciardo’s Friday crash couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“Obviously, it’s important in a situation like that, that we separate the different topics.

“Barcelona, in the race for Daniel, it was simply not possible to do a better pace.

“That’s something we had to analyse after the race, which we did, and we found an issue on the car which gave us an explanation, which was important, then we learned from that and we have actions in place in order to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

“Yesterday, as I said before, we as a team tried to push probably too much, together with Daniel, and that’s why we had the crash in the end.

“That can happen here in Monaco.

“Obviously you want to avoid it, it’s not ideal, missing out on an entire session, but Daniel is experienced enough, we are experienced enough as a team, to leave that behind us.”

While Seidl defended Ricciardo, it is no secret he has struggled to gel with the 2022 McLaren, a point the driver himself admitted to on Friday.

“It’s still been a little tricky for me to always gel 100 percent with the car and feel like I can pull out, let’s say these spectacular laps, but that sounds like I’m really bigging myself up,” Ricciardo said.

“But just to pull out those heaters, I guess, it has been more tricky for sure.

“There’s been some races and times where it’s been good, but honestly still working at it.

“I’d love to say that I’m going to be half a second quicker and awesome every race from now, I mean I’d love to, and I’m working to get that, but it’s a bit of a process.”

It’s a view shared by Seidl.

“In general, Daniel says himself, he still doesn’t feel, let’s say 100 percent with the car, especially when it’s about pushing it to the absolute limit in qualifying,” he said.

“He’s up against a very strong team-mate as well with Lando [Norris], and if you put both things together, that’s the gap we will be sometimes seeing.

“All we can do, together with Daniel, with a commitment on both sides, is simply keep working hard in order to find these last percentages, and that’s where we all spend our energy on.”

Ricciardo qualified 14th for the Monaco Grand Prix, his best time 1.1 seconds slower than that managed by Norris, who will start fifth.

The Monaco Grand Prix begins at 23:00 AEST tonight.

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