Daniel Ricciardo delivered his best performance to date with McLaren at the Spanish Grand Prix, but admitted mistakes need to be addressed.
Barcelona saw Ricciardo match his best result for his new team as he finished sixth on Sunday, repeating his position from Imola and also out-qualify team-mate Lando Norris by his biggest margin so far. Despite that, and the fact he gained a position from his starting spot of seventh, Ricciardo concedes there are a lot of areas he needs to work on.
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“This weekend as a whole was another step,” Ricciardo said. “There are still mistakes in the race and some things that are still catching me out. Fortunately, I minimized them a bit more than in the last few weeks but there are still a few messy laps in there that I have to clean up. So just a bit more time.”
Despite that harsh criticism of himself, Ricciardo says he got the best result McLaren could have achieved on Sunday after holding off Sergio Perez for much of the race and then keeping Carlos Sainz behind in the closing laps.
“It was personally a better weekend, for sure,” Ricciardo added. “It is definitely a step in the right direction, it is progress. I’m still learning, it sounds crazy to say that but still learning how to be better with this car.
“The race was good. We do the race five more times a day and I think six is the best we can finish. Every car ahead was faster, and even Carlos behind was faster. So getting him at the start was critical and that allowed me to finish sixth. The team executed a good two stops. We changed the plan later in the race and it was the right call.
That’s the chequered flag on the #SpanishGP. 🇪🇸🏁
Daniel finishes in P6 and Lando in P8.
Double points again. Nice work, team! 👏 pic.twitter.com/34S1al671z
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) May 9, 2021
“The start was really good and it allowed me to get ahead of a couple faster cars. What it meant was my whole race was defending and trying to hold them off. Every lap I was just managing to stay ahead of Sergio. One mistake or a perfect last sector from him and he was going to get me.
“He made a good move into Turn 1. I defended pretty well for a lot of it, but at the end he went in and made a good pass. If I try to run it we would touch. It is probably inevitable that he was going to get me at some point. So to risk my race did not seem worth it, also I feel I did it for long enough. Of course, I’m still trying but I had Carlos to defend from as well. So, happy to finish sixth.”