Since, Daniel Ricciardo has joined the team, he has consistently struggled to perform at the same level as Lando Norris. There have been a few bright spots, like his victory and McLaren’s 1-2 in Monza, but aside from that, it has been fairly disappointing for both parties involved. Ricciardo had joined McLaren on the back of a great season at Renault, and was expected to replace and even better the departing Carlos Sainz.
It has not turned out that way. This is partly due to the car not being completely opposite to Ricciardo’s driving style, as said by many people. But after a while, results cannot be ignored. After a disappointing weekend in Spain, where he finished 17th, McLaren CEO Zak Brown had commented to Sky Sports that Lando Norris is clearly the better driver at the moment, and that both parties (McLaren and Ricciardo) are not meeting their expectations.
“We would obviously like to see Daniel much closer to Lando and have a good inter-team battle. Daniel is just not comfortable yet with the car, we’re trying everything we can. Again it [Spain] was a disappointing weekend.
“Short of [Ricciardo’s win at] Monza and a few races, it’s generally not kind of met his or our expectations, as far as what we were expecting.”
Daniel Ricciardo likes a little pressure
Monaco was another disappointing weekend, but in Azerbaijan, Daniel Ricciardo scored points for the second time this season, and perhaps more importantly, finished above his teammate. It is possible that he may have finished higher if he had earlier been allowed to battle with Lando Norris.
According to PlanetF1, Ricciardo has said that he took the criticism from Zak Brown as more of a compliment, as it means that the team expects better things from him, according to his and their own standards.
“I would be more surprised if I was coming, say, 13th, and everyone is like ‘Dan’s killing it this year’.”
“I know the team care about me and therefore there’s an expectation as to where I can perform and where my ability lies, so with Zak’s comment I’m well aware of how I’m doing and I take it as a roundabout way of a compliment because he also believes I can be doing better.“
“I am my biggest critic and I don’t take that stuff to heart. A bit of pressure is good. It’s not something I take personally or negatively.”
It was in Montreal that Daniel Ricciardo won his first-ever race in Formula 1. The Formula 1 paddock has returned to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, and Ricciardo certainly likes the track. While it is unlikely that he can recreate his 2014 result, he can surely build upon a better Azerbaijan weekend there.