Ricciardo labels head scratching F1 performance a step forward

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has branded his performance in qualifying for the Formula 1 French Grand Prix a step forward.

That comes despite qualifying just 11th fastest and his own admission that he’s still struggling in some corners.

McLaren has debuted a new upgrade package this weekend, with revised sidepods and floor, among a number of other components, designed to increase the overall downforce produced by the MCL36.

Ricciardo had the package from opening practice on Friday, while Lando Norris had it fitted to his car from Free Practice 2.

Norris had suggested he was playing catch up to his team-mate following the opening day’s running, though the Brit again proved to have the upper hand in qualifying to extend his record to 10-2 in 2022.

“Some corners good, some corners not so good,” said Ricciardo following qualifying.

“In general there’s improvements, but some corners I still struggle with just trying to push and get those few more tenths out of it.

“I still don’t feel I get the reward, or I get the car kind of coming back to me the way I feel.

“But there was some places I think, like Turn 1/2, you can feel the car’s kind of a bit better loaded and stuff, so there’s certainly some positives, but some corners where I still scratch my head, so still a bit to find.

“We’ll have a look back through the lap and see why I didn’t get what I wanted in some of these places, but I think generally it’s a step forward.”

Ricciardo managed a best of 1:32.922 in Qualifying 2, which compared to a 1:32.777s of Norris in the same session.

He was bundled out of the three-part session by Lewis Hamilton the Mercedes driver he improved late in the second phase of the three-part knockout system.

Norris meanwhile progressed to Qualifying 3, where he turned in a 1:32.032 to qualify fifth fastest, a time almost a second faster than his Australian counterpart.

However, it’s not all bad news for Ricciardo, who will actually line up ninth following penalties for Carlos Sainz and Kevin Magnussen, both of whom had progressed into the final phase on Saturday afternoon.

“We got a couple of freebies with Sainz and Magnussen, so I’ll be ninth, and then Yuki [Tsunoda], he’s not good at starting, so I’ll be eighth,” Ricciardo said of his chances in Sunday’s race.

“[Fernando] Alonso is either great or bad, so I’ll probably be seventh, and then we’ll see from there.”

The French Grand Prix gets under way at 23:00 AEST this evening.

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]