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Button 'surprised' by Brown's criticism of Ricciardo

Despite Daniel Ricciardo enduring a difficult start to 2022, Jenson Button does not entirely agree with Zak Brown's public criticism of the Australian.

Jenson Button says he was surprisedto hear McLaren CEO Zak Brown say publicly that Daniel Ricciardo is not meetingexpectations at the Woking outfit. Having been outscored by teammateLando Norris last year, Ricciardo has struggled badly in 2022, and has just 11points to Norris' 48 after the season's first seven Grands Prix. Ricciardo's woes continued atMonaco, where he finished a lowly 12th after having crashed duringpractice, while Norris took sixth despite suffering with tonsilitisduring the previous week. Brown recently told Sky Sports F1 that Ricciardo's performances had not met the expectations of either team ordriver , prompting Button to declare his surprise at such a public admission.

Button "surprised" at Brown declaration

"Zak is his own man and Ican't change his thoughts and what he says, but I was surprised that he cameout and said that," Button said on the Sky Sports F1 show Any Given Monday . "Everyone with the team shouldbe protecting these drivers. "Formula 1 is a real mental game.They all have immense skill but you don't perform if your head is not in theright place. "I was surprised Zak came out and said he was not meetingexpectations – we all know that. But when your Team Principal comes out andsays that, it definitely hurts. "I'm hoping they have talkedsince and they can just focus on getting the best out of Daniel and the teamaround him for the rest of the year. Then we'll see where he ends up in thefuture."

Could Ricciardo's contract be terminated early?

Ricciardo has a contract with McLarenfor next year, but Brown has hinted at mechanisms which would allow for thedeal to be terminated early. Asked about Ricciardo's immediate future, Button replied:"Daniel came into the team in a very strong position, so the contract ismore in his favour, I would say, but there will always be clauses. "To be fair, if a team doesn't want you driving for them, youdon't want to be there – and vice versa. Normally there's an easier way out ofit than just the clauses in the contract."

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