Prior to the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Daniel Ricciardo had told GQ magazine “Monaco is my favourite F1 weekend of the year. I mean, I love lots of them but this one is really special. So I’m in good spirits.” However, as much as Ricciardo may love the circuit he is now ready to put this weekend’s performance ‘in the bin’ and go again in Baku.
Having been off the pace throughout the weekend, the closest Daniel Ricciardo came to the front of the field, at Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, was when they were lapping him due to blue flags. As a result of this, the performance in Monaco which saw the much-loved Aussie cross the line in 12th position, compared to his teammate Lando Norris in 3rd, has led to much head scratching.
Having started in 12th after a miserable qualifying session, the two-time Monaco pole-sitter was in unfamiliar territory at the Principality. Unfortunately, Ricciardo would remain in 12th place at the close of the race despite several retirements ahead of him. This was as a result of losing positions early on to Kimi Raikkonen and Lance Stroll:
“It was quite a miserable weekend, just one to forget from my side,” said Ricciardo to F1.com in a post-race interview. “Obviously the other side and the rest of the team, they got a podium out if it and they nailed it so congrats to them. It wasn’t all miserable, but from our side, just one to forget, try and move on and hopefully find some answers. But obviously to be that far off, it’s a bit of an anomaly.
Daniel Ricciardo won the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix and this came two years after one of his lowest moments in the sport when a pit stop error prevented a certain 2016 victory:
“I’m not going to lie, Monaco 2016 haunted me for two years, and then to not put a foot wrong in 2018 and thinking the win would slip away from me again.” These comments from Ricciardo after winning on the most famous F1 circuit in 2018 are a clear sign that Daniel Ricciardo is no stranger to overcoming adversity and handling disappointment and as such should not be discounted from being able to get to grips with his, at present, troublesome MCL35M:
“There were a few laps on the hard where I had some clear track – I don’t know the tyre situation [of other drivers], but I think I was quickest on track at that point, so I guess there were maybe some moments of positivity,” Ricciardo commented after Sunday’s race. “But with the medium at the beginning, it was really just nowhere. I could just feel I was skating and I didn’t really know what was going on and trying to find the grip. It was tricky. But we’ll move on.”
Daniel Ricciardo is now into his eleventh season in Formula One, has amassed seven race wins and 31 podium finishes. When speaking to GQ magazine prior to the 2021 Monaco GP, he declared what it takes to win in Monaco:
“Confidence. Like, massive levels of confidence. Huge cojones. You can’t be scared or afraid for a moment or you’ll just never push yourself to be on the limit, to get as close to the barriers as you need to get.”
Even though a 2021 Monaco Grand Prix victory, podium or even a top ten finish did not come the way of Daniel Ricciardo, he certainly has the cojones to turn things around. Therefore, it is widely regarded that is a question of when and not if in the debate of a chance of a Ricciardo podium with McLaren.
Having seen Daniel Ricciardo bounce back in Monaco on that famous day in 2018, do not be surprised to see him do so on the streets of Monaco in the future.
However, next up on the calendar, is a return to another street circuit which Daniel Ricciardo has been victorious at. As such, the native from Perth is more than ready to move on and look ahead to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix:
“Sometimes, when the weekend’s this bad, it’s kind of easier to deal with and move on because you’re so far off,” laughed Ricciardo. “It’s like, put it in the bin and let’s go again, so that’s I think what I’m going to do.”
McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl also indicated that he too was ready to head to Baku:
“Daniel had a very tough one. We’ll put that behind us as quickly as possible. He was quick in Barcelona and had good speed in the second half of the race here – that’s what we’ll be taking to Azerbaijan…We’ll head home now, reset, recharge the batteries, and turn our thoughts to a very different street race in Baku.”