The moment Daniel Ricciardo knew McLaren were ‘a group of winners’
Daniel Ricciardo has revealed the exact moment that validated his switch to McLaren, and it’s probably not what you’d expect.
Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has revealed the exact moment at the Italian Grand Prix that validated his decision to switch to McLaren.
Ricciardo stunned the F1 community by signing for the British team following an underwhelming two-year stint at Renault, where he registered two podium finishes.
But the Aussie’s maiden season with McLaren has been anything by smooth sailing. He was repeatedly outclassed by younger teammate Lando Norris throughout the first half of the 2021 championship, struggling to adapt to the MCL35M’s braking system.
Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship™ Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >
Just as F1 pundits started questioning his decision to change teams, Ricciardo broke a three-year victory drought at Monza last month, winning the Italian Grand Prix to help McLaren secure its first 1-2 finish in more than a decade.
Speaking on the Beyond the Grid podcast this week, Ricciardo admitted the Monza triumph helped restore his confidence.
“It was needed, no doubt about it,” he said.
“You don’t really lose faith in yourself, because you know what you’re capable of, but if you haven’t done it for a while, then of course it’s like … ‘Am I not 100% in this corner, am I at 98 now and I don’t even know it?’ So you get these … little voices.
“But I think the truth is, I knew it when I led – I got the start and as soon as I pulled out of the first chicane in the lead, I literally remember going out and I had a smile and I said, ‘The pit crew right now must be going nuts, we’re leading.’
“But I felt comfortable, and that was all I needed. I was like, ‘Yeah, this is not overwhelming for me, this isn’t a forgotten feeling.’ In my head, I’m telling myself, ‘This is where I belong, this is where I want to be.’ And I really drove that race with a comfort and a calmness. At times I was singing to myself, I was tapping the wheel, I was just enjoying it. And I wanted to enjoy it.”
Ricciardo said his biggest takeaway from the unforgettable weekend was a clutch pit stop from the McLaren mechanics that proved the team had the grit of winners.
“What (the win) did for the team was just as powerful,” he explained.
“Because the team’s been on this trajectory, they’ve had podiums, but to get the win … confirms a lot of belief that the team have in themselves to get it done.
“And even going to the mechanics, we had the fastest pit stop of that race in Monza. To do that when the team is not notoriously known for the fastest pit stops, so to execute that in probably the hardest-pressure pit stop of the year, that is what I took from that weekend – like, ‘Man we’ve got a group of winners here.’ And that makes me really excited.
“And the truth is, Monza proved everything, because it’s the win but it’s everything that happened around that, that showed that no one cracked. No one cracked! That is really important.”
The F1 season resumes this weekend with the United States Grand Prix, which gets underway at 6am AEDT on Monday, October 25.
For all the latest Sports News Click Here