Seven-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo made the switch from Renault to McLaren for the 2021 Formula One season.
Asked what the main differences are between driving the Renault and McLaren, the Australian said it takes time to get to the limit in a new car and the feel of it.
''It’s all about feel,’’ said the Perth-born driver in an interview with EFTMOnline.
''There’s visually some differences. Even like your seating position, the mirrors might be a bit different. Maybe when you turn right, like a 90-degree right-hander, maybe the mirror blocks a little bit your line of vision, where, say, in the Renault maybe it was a 45-degree corner. Your vision has to adapt in a way.
The biggest thing is like the seat in your pants, how the car moves underneath you and your feel and perception of ‘ok, I’m on the limit’ or ‘there’s still a bit more’.
It’s a little bit like practicing a new sport. Eventually muscle memory tells you how to hit the ball correctly; that’s like finding the limit of a new car. I need to do it a few more times to get that muscle memory to tell me ‘I’m comfortable here, I’m comfortable here on the limit’.''
Ricciardo has had a tricky start to life at McLaren. While he outqualified his new teammate Lando Norris in Bahrain and at Imola, the young British driver has very much held the upper hand in both races.
At Imola, Ricciardo had to let Norris by as the Brit was much quicker in both wet and dry conditions. Norris ended up scoring his second podium finish with P3, as Ricciardo finished a distant P6.
The Australian admits he’s not up to speed yet with his new team and has to take the team orders at Imola on the chin.
''Of course the competitor in me wants to stay in front. Maybe it’s just like maturity and experience now, I acknowledge that I wasn’t quick enough. I think I'm my biggest critic.
''In my head, I’m like, if I was quick enough, I would have pulled away and not been in that position. It’s not like the team was holding me back so that Lando could have that position. It was all on me.
''Obviously I’m not up to speed yet, as much as I want. Take that one on the chin and figure out a way to be better, as opposed to jump up and down. I certainly don’t want to create any friction in the team in race two, that’s for sure.''
When asked to swap with Norris at Imola, the driver of car number 3 said ‘understood’. Ricciardo explained why he’s used that one-word response throughout his career and the fact it helps him as he doesn’t like talking too much on the radio during a race.
''It’s something I’ve always gone with. I remember when I first joined Red Bull in 2014, in Melbourne when I got the podium, I think through the race a lot of my responses were just ‘understood, understood.’ I think it was Adrian Newey, he sounded so calm and everything; I felt like understood was just a nice way of letting the team know that I get it.''
''I don’t really talk that much on the radio; I don’t like to spend too much time on it. It’s just quick and it lets the team know that I’ve acknowledged the message.’’
Ricciardo spent almost three full seasons together with Max Verstappen at Red Bull, as his partnership with Norris is only two races old. Questioned who he thinks is the better racer, the 31-year-old went for the Dutchman because of the extra time he’s spent with Verstappen as his teammate.
''I have to say Max but it’s probably just based off I’ve had more experience with him. Judging by the last weekend [at Imola], Lando certainly raced really well.''