Live: Daniel Ricciardo seeks answers behind mystery struggles

After a poor showing in Qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren have revealed the reasons behind his struggles.   

Daniel Ricciardo second fastest in Free Practice 2 at Styrian Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren are desperate to get to the bottom of his struggles ahead of tonight’s Styrian Grand Prix. 

The Australian had an extremely poor showing in Qualifying and will line up at 13th on the grid at the Red Bull Ring. 

Max Verstappen will start at pole position in front of Lewis Hamilton, as the pair continue their heavyweight battle for the F1 drivers’ championship. 

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Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris was streaks ahead of him and qualified in P3 to continue his sensational form this season. 

It had appeared as if Ricciardo was finally coming to grips with his car in his first season with McLaren, finishing a solid sixth last weekend in France and clocking the second fastest time in Friday’s practice in Austria. 

But all his good progress came crashing down in Qualifying, where he struggled for speed.

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl believes Ricciardo is still getting accustomed to pushing the car to its limit. 

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 24: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren F1 talks to the media in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Styria at Red Bull Ring on June 24, 2021 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“Looking at the data after qualifying, we have a good idea of what the issues are,” Seidl told The Race.

“Daniel, despite the good steps he’s making forward, is still fighting with some of the limitations he’s feeling when he’s driving our car at the limit.

“That’s what we have worked on since he jumped in our car and we are making steps, but these limitations are very penalising here on that kind of track.

“And with the field being so competitive, that quickly ends up then in the position where he finished qualifying.”

Seidl said Ricciardo is particularly grappling with the corners of the circuit. 

“The limitations he’s fighting with have been here in these (slower) corners but also in the high speed sections later on,” he said.

“And that was simply continuously building up over the left and leads to this deficit we have.”

Ricciardo admitted he was still learning how to get the best out of his MCL35M.

“I’m definitely fighting it to try to have the same kind of corner speed,” he said.

“I don’t think the fighting is coming from overdriving or wrestling the car, it’s just trying to carry a bit more speed and obviously keep the minimum speed up.

“I do find myself running out of a little bit of track and a little bit of room.

“That’s why in qualifying I couldn’t really figure out how to find half a second or a second, because I felt like I was using all the grip available.”

Styrian Grand Prix Starting Grid

Row 1: Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Row 2: Lando Norris (McLaren) – Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

Row 3: Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)* – Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

Row 4: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – George Russell (Williams)

Row 5: Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

Row 6: Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)* – Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

Row 7: Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

Row 8: Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

Row 9: Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)

Row 10: Mick Schumacher (Haas) – Nikita Mazepin (Haas)

* Three-place grid penalty after practice incident.

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