Wherever Daniel Ricciardo goes, expectation follows.
A seven-time race winner, Ricciardo is often seen in the top echelon of drivers in the sport, with fans clamouring for immediate results.
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So after finishing seventh in his first race in Bahrain, before holding his start position with sixth at Imola, Ricciardo has had a solid start to his life in McLaren orange.
It’s far from his early days with Renault that saw him DNF in three of his first four races — with just one points finish in his first five.
But with Lando Norris blowing him off the track with a stunning qualifying performance — despite a track limits penalty handing the team quali win to Ricciardo — and a third placed finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Aussie has admitted his seat at McLaren has taken some getting used to.
Ricciardo said it was a “challenging” race in Italy.
Daniel Ricciardo has called for some patience.Source:AFP
He said there was no visibility at the start after rain struck within an hour of lights out.
It was a solid if unspectacular drive from the Aussie, particularly considering his teammate Norris finished on the podium for the second time in his career.
Early in the race, Ricciardo was asked by his team to let Norris through with the Brit clearly the faster of the two, speeding off as the Aussie let him past.
In two laps, Norris had gone 4.5 seconds ahead of Ricciardo.
“That’s where I’ve got to swallow my pride,” Ricciardo said. “The team were fair enough, they gave me time to try and show my pace. There were some laps where I had a bit and I could do a decent time but they gave me the time to show what I had and today it wasn’t enough so I’m not going to get into fisticuffs over it.”
Late in the race, Lewis Hamilton, who finished second but was knocked back to ninth after a rare mistake, overtook Ricciardo with ease as well.
But he managed to hold off Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who was pushing him late in the race.
While it was hardly the perfect performance from Ricciardo, the Aussie said he didn’t come into the move to McLaren blind.
“I don’t think I underestimated it, I was well aware of this (the learning curve at a new team) when I left Red Bull for Renault, but it’s just unfortunately going to take a bit of time,” Ricciardo said. “But the season is long, it’s only race two, of course I want to be quicker already but if I look probably by race seven and I look back at race two, I’m probably giggling because panic not.”
It’s a major warning for the grid if Ricciardo can get up to speed like Norris.Source:Getty Images
Asked by the Sky Sports hosts about how difficult it is to change teams after former McLaren now Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz said it was like going to a new category as he hopped in his new car.
“So far, yeah,” Ricciardo agreed. “Maybe in a few races time, it’s like we’re fine. It’s weird, it’s some form of muscle memory and there’s still attachment to the other car and you’re trying to get out of, I don’t know if it’s bad habits but I don’t know.
“There’s so much in the seat of your pants and if there’s something you’re maybe not familiar with it’s like ‘ooh, is that the limit?’ but it’s not. I’ve just got to keep circulating laps and trying to understand. I think the positive is that Lando had a strong weekend, obviously on the podium, so I think better that than him in P12, and it shows we’re not quick at all. There’s positives.”
The next race weekend is April 30 to May 2 in Portugal.
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