Daniel Ricciardo has experienced a less than ideal start to the season.
Not only did he test positive for COVID-19, which ultimately sidelined him during part of preseason testing, the Australian has only finished in the top 10 once over the span of six races. Comparatively, his McLaren teammate Lando Norris has broken into the top 10 four times, including snagging a podium finish in Imola.
But being outdriven by Norris has shown flashes of being a theme since joining McLaren in 2021. Ricciardo went from tallying seven wins for Red Bull from 2014-18 to then going winless for two years with Renault. He then joined McLaren, tallying a single win in 2021 but no other podiums.
“Lando definitely has an edge,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown told Sky Sports’ Any Driven Monday. “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 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. And I think all you can do is keep working hard as a team, keep communications going, keep pushing and hope that whatever is not kind of clicking at the moment clicks shortly.”
After an eighth placed finish, scoring points while dealing with tonsillitis, Norris sits at seventh in the driver rankings, just seven points below seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and 26 away from former teammate Carlos Sainz. Meanwhile, Ricciardo has only scored points once this season for McLaren with his sixth place finish in Melbourne. He sits at 12th place with 11 points, the same as 11th place Yuki Tsunoda.
“I think it also points to how good Lando is,” Brown said. “When you look at the gap between Charles [Leclerc] and Carlos [Sainz], between Max [Verstappen] and Sergio [Perez], there are gaps between teammates.
“I think Lando is one of the best drivers in the world at the moment and I think it is also kind of a compliment to how good Lando is when you see the gap that exists.”
More Formula One Coverage: