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Hill praises Ricciardo for playing a team role with Norris

McLaren had their strongest weekend of 2022 so far at the Australian Grand Prix, and Damon Hill believes that this was helped by Daniel Ricciardo's willingness to focus on the wider picture for the team.

Damon Hill has praised Daniel Ricciardo for playing a team role with McLaren at the Australian Grand Prix. The Woking-based squad recorded their best result of the season so far in Melbourne, with Lando Norris and Ricciardo ending the race in fifth and sixth respectively. In doing so, Ricciardo was told to hold position behind Norris due to the Briton's car suffering with an issue, and Hill thinks that Ricciardo's willingness to adhere to this will have gone down well with the team. "It's great to see him when he's competitive," Hill told the F1 Nation podcast. "It's a shame he had to hold back at the end [of the race], but it was a good team job he did there, because Lando had some heating problems and so he was asked, 'If you don't mind, don't put him under too much pressure'. "And he did that job too, so I think that's going to have earned him a lot of brownie points."

Hill stresses the importance of teamwork

Hill believes that the atmosphere at a team improves when the drivers are willing to play their part like this. "It's always better to be in a team when everyone feels good," the 1996 World Champion explained. "And you haven't got [the scenario where] one driver's put the whole thing in jeopardy because they wanted to be selfish, but that's the dilemma drivers always find themselves in." Ricciardo's character outside of the car is also something that Hill is a fan of. "He just loves the stage," Hill said. "He's a great performer. He's been so good."

Melbourne performance "bodes well" for Ricciardo

F1 journalist Tom Clarkson weighed in on the discussion of Ricciardo, and argued that the signs from Melbourne were positive in terms of what the Australian can achieve going forwards. "He was pumped after the race in Australia, but I also felt he wanted more," Clarkson commented. "And I think that's a huge turning point for Daniel in that - excluding Monza - at any other point last year, if he'd finished on Lando Norris' gearbox, I think he would have been overjoyed because he was struggling with that car. "This year, he finishes on Lando Norris' gearbox and actually wasn't totally happy. [He was] relieved to get points on the board, but thinks there was more performance to come. "So I think that bodes well for Daniel Ricciardo in terms of where he's at with this car. He's clearly happier with it than he was last year."

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