Daniel Ricciardo defiant amid McLaren Formula 1 struggles: 'Give me a winning car, and I'll win!' – Sky Sports

McLaren News
Last Updated: 28/07/22 11:05am
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Daniel Ricciardo has issued a defiant message amid his struggles at McLaren, insisting he is still capable of winning in Formula 1 if given the opportunity.
Ricciardo arrived at McLaren as a high-profile signing in 2021 but has, in the words of the team’s chief Zak Brown, fallen short of expectations so far, with young Briton Lando Norris establishing himself as the team’s leader.
That lack of form has also seen the Australian’s future questioned, with Ricciardo recently issuing a statement to confirm – despite McLaren links to other drivers – that he will be seeing out his contract until 2023.
In a revealing exclusive with Sky Sports F1, Ricciardo explained the confidence he has in himself to bounce back at McLaren – and to get back to the top of F1, if given a competitive car by the team who are currently fourth in the standings.
“Give me a winning car, and I’ll win,” Ricciardo told Ted Kravitz in France. “I don’t feel I’ve ever left a win on the table.”
“That’s the challenge that lies ahead of us, with myself and the team at McLaren,” added Ricciardo.
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“It’s like, let’s figure this out, I want to take on this challenge with you. Let’s figure it out because you give me this, and I’ll give you this in return.
“That’s the confidence I have in myself and that’s ultimately why I still wake up wanting to do it.”
Ricciardo is an eight-time race winner in F1, claiming seven victories for Red Bull and one for McLaren last year at the Italian GP – the team’s first since 2012. A fine overtaker, Ricciardo has also proved to be an opportunist.
But minus that marvellous Monza, Ricciardo hasn’t hit his high notes at McLaren.
Last year’s troubles were put down to getting to grips with a new car, but this season in a new machine Norris, 22, has been even more dominant against his older team-mate, 33.
“It’s like trying to dance with a partner and if you’re not in sync, you’re not dancing,” said Ricciardo. “You can’t dance.”
Speculation about Ricciardo’s future mounted after McLaren signed up another highly-rated IndyCar driver, with Alex Palou joining Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward at the Arrow McLaren team, and for the F1 testing programme.
Brown, McLaren’s CEO, had also hinted at “options” to get out of Ricciardo’s three-year contract early.
But Ricciardo insists he’s staying while McLaren’s F1 team boss Andreas Seidl is also happy to retain him.
“He’s committed, and we are committed from our side,” said Seidl.
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“We just need to keep working hard together in order to find these last percentages that we’ve seen from time to time. At the moment, that’s what we spend all our energy on.”
Ricciardo is currently 12th in the standings but has hinted at signs of his old form in recent weeks. He was ninth, two places behind Norris, at the French GP.
“He sees it himself, that on race pace he was pretty close to his team-mate,” said Sky Sports F1’s Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion. “For him, it was a positive weekend.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the greatest of all time, but it was another step in the right direction for him to always be very close to his team-mate also on race pace.”
Rosberg also feels that Norris deserves more praise than Ricciardo criticism.
Norris is still waiting for his first F1 win but has shone since debuting as a rookie in 2019, and is currently a ‘best of the rest’ seventh in the championship.
“He is one of the best of the next generation and potentially the best,” added Rosberg.
“I think in this case, more than bashing Daniel at this point in time we should just praise Lando who is driving absolutely like a future world champion.”
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