Lando Norris, McLaren, Monza, 2020

Ricciardo impressed by McLaren’s Italian GP performance

2020 F1 season

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Future McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo was impressed by the team’s performance in last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo will join the team from Renault at the end of the year. Carlos Sainz Jnr, whose place Ricciardo will take, qualified third and finished within half a second of race winner Pierre Gasly.

“They were looking good,” said Ricciardo. “I believe they were second and third before the stoppage. So maybe they could have even had a better day.

“They had pace all weekend. I knew they’d be competitive here but I didn’t expect the performance they showed not only Sunday, but Saturday. They certainly found a bit here. So it’s obviously encouraging for them, it’s a big result.”

Running behind his future team mate Lando Norris, Ricciardo said the McLaren looked stronger than his Renault in the high-speed corners at Monza.

“I didn’t have Lando directly in front of me, but he was just in front of I think Perez and just in front of Bottas so I could see him a little bit as well. And I’d probably say that in the highest speed corners I feel that either everyone’s a bit stronger or that’s an area where we probably lack a little bit for now. So that that seemed to be a strength of McLaren today.”

Following their competitive showing at Spa a week earlier, Renault were expected to perform well at Monza. “We were still there, but didn’t have that extra bit that we kind of surprised ourselves a bit with last week,” Ricciardo admitted.

“I feel that we were able to make a lower-downforce car work in Spa. We ran less wing than pretty much everyone else, with obviously bigger gains in sector one and three and not a massive loss in sector two.

“Where here everyone runs low downforce so our gain in the straights was significantly smaller and then naturally the cars with more downforce are able to to carry a bit more through the medium and high speed.

“In the race I felt like we were pretty good in the low speed and under braking. So in the turn one chicane and all that I felt I was competitive if I was behind Perez or behind Bottas.

“But I felt where they would stretch away was Ascari and Parabolica. Just those higher speed corners, that’s where I think they had us over today.”

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2020 F1 season

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Ricciardo impressed by McLaren’s Italian GP performance”

  1. I think it’s fair to say that Ricciardo is feeling fairly relieved at the moment. At worst it’s a sideways move to McLaren, and probably a step up.

    Not sure Sainz says that to himself every night…

    1. Very true about Ricciardo – be interesting to see if the changeover to Mercedes PU’s at the end of the year has a negative impact on McLaren given they’re not really getting a completely fair change to get it fitted into the car.

      As for Sainz & Ferrari – I’m not convincer that Liberty or the FIA will consider it to be in their interests to let them languish as badly as they are now. Expect some changes to be gifted to them so they return back to their usual position next year.

  2. Where here everyone runs low downforce so our gain in the straights was significantly smaller and then naturally the cars with more downforce are able to to carry a bit more through the medium and high speed.

    Their performance at Spa certainly deceived me. Its not like Renault have worries with their engines as Carlos and Lando have repeatedly shown us. They have a lot to make up in terms of aero. I really hoped that we would see Renault challenge McLaren in the WCC but that seems far fetched now. With all three teams McLaren, Renault and Racing Point being close to each other in quali and race trim more or less, the points will tend to split based on the track and both drivers need to finish in the top 10 if the three way fight is to continue.
    I dont see that happening. We’ll have a two horse race between Mclaren and RP for third, and may be Renault and Ferrari for fifth.

    1. and may be Renault and Ferrari for fifth

      I still see Alpha Tauri as a genuine contender there (not just based on Sunday’s somewhat lucky win).

  3. The one fly in the ointment I can see is the possibility of transitioning from a Renault to a Merc PU and how it can be successfully adapted to the existing chassis. Aero & cooling are going to be difficult to manage I would think.

  4. McLaren seems to work well in the low downforce tracks, it will be interesting to see how they perform in the medium to high downforce tracks, because before Belgian gp, they were not that fast relatively to racing point or redbull

  5. Ross Brawn managed it with a car that was built for a Honda engine.

    1. Amen to that!

  6. On the one hand it looks like Ricciardo gave up a works team seat to move to a customer team who have struggled for eight years now. But given Renault rebranding to Alpine I can’t help feel that Renault don’t think the results reflect holding the parent company name but aren’t willing to increase the investment enough to truly chase the championship

    I think it’s at best a slim chance Mclaren would fight from 2022 onwards, but I think it’s a better chance than Renault/Alpine doing so, and if Mercedes call it a day running the Brackley team there’s an outside chance they could be backed more like they were in the 2000’s

  7. I for one am very excited about the McLaren driver line up next year,
    a smart cookie would find a bookie and lay a few quid on a 2nd or 3rd WDC ,

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