15/04/2024

Aussie Daniel Ricciardo is hoping to start building some consistency this weekend at Baku. Photo @McLarenF1/Twitter

After a disappointing result in Monaco and inconsistent season so far, Daniel Ricciardo is in desperate need to find form this weekend in Baku

After an unsuccessful weekend in Monaco two weeks ago, a track Ricciardo usually performs well on, the Australian is hoping to bounce back and find some consistent form when F1 returns to Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend.

With Monaco being one of the most difficult tracks for overtaking, qualifying as the 12th fastest car was a disappointing result for Ricciardo who ultimately finished 12th unable to move up the grid.

This disappointment was compounded by teammate Lando Norris being able to shine in Monte Carlo qualifying 5th and finishing on the podium in 3rd place, even overtaking Ricciardo during the race.

With Norris outshining Ricciardo week after week, having outscored him in four of the five races and collecting two podium finishes, the pressure is starting to mount on the Aussie to match the productivity of his teammate.

“Monaco wasn’t my weekend but I’m looking to bounce back. It’s been important to take time to reset and refocus before heading to Baku,” Ricciardo said.

“The team and I have been working hard in the sim to understand, analyse and pinpoint the key areas we need to improve.

“We know the car has good potential, we just need to put all pieces together to unlock it.”

Ricciardo currently sits 8th in the driver standings on 24 points, 32 points behind his teammate on 56 points in 3rd place.

McLarens car appears to have the pace to be the third-fastest car in 2021, yet Ricciardo has struggled to consistently get the most out of it.

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All is not lost though as Ricciardo has shown signs in the past when at Renault that he can take time to adapt to a new car.

“There’s still that element of adapting to a new car which I’m sure will come with the more time and mileage behind the wheel,” he said.

In 2019 when Ricciardo made the move to Renault he only scored in the points in one of his first five races.

During his second season with the team, he jumped from 9th in the driver standings in 2019 to 5th in 2020, scoring in the points in the last 11 races of the season and collected two podium finishes.

Ricciardo has still been able to score in four of the five races so far this season but has struggled to climb up the grid during races.

In Bahrain, Emilia, and Monaco, Ricciardo has either finished the race in the same position on the grid he qualified for or dropped positions.

The two races he did out-perform his qualifying position were at the Portuguese GP where he came from 16th to finish 9th and in Spain where he qualified 7th and finished 6th.

He will be hoping to find that form when he returns to Baku, a circuit where he has had mixed results.

Ricciardo was crowned the winner at the 2017 Azerbaijan GP after starting 10th on the grid but in his two outings since in 2018 and 2019, he has failed to complete the race.

With the Baku track suited to McLaren who has shown impressive straight-line speed, the odds are in Ricciardo’s favour to quickly bounce back to form on a track with plenty of overtaking opportunities.  

With their major competitor, Ferrari having a car not well suited to the long straights at Baku and Alpine and Aston Martin being inconsistent so far this season, Ricciardo should be aiming for a top 6 finish if all goes to plan.  

 

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