Daniel Ricciardo is aiming to build on his first points finish of 2022 going into the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with the McLaren man scoring a comfortable sixth place last time out at his home race in Australia. Having had a dreadful start to the season with a low-key P14 in Bahrain, before a mid-race retirement in Saudi Arabia, Ricciardo benefitted from other driver's issues to move from what would have been a lowly points finish to place sixth at the chequered flag in Melbourne. It was his first points result in front of his home crowd since his final appearance there with Red Bull, back in 2018. There have been clear signs of improvement from McLaren since their troubled pre-season test in Bahrain, and Ricciardo is hopeful that the ongoing development drive will put the Woking-based team in good stead.
Ricciardo still "on a high" after Melbourne
"I'm still on a high after a strong result in front of an incredible home crowd in Melbourne," he said in his official preview ahead of the Imola race. "So, hopefully, we can keep the momentum going as we head to Imola. With the Sprint format returning, anything is possible so we've got to get our heads down, keep going with the improvements and extract as much as we can from the car. "It's a technically difficult track that's fast and flowing, so it will be good to see how these new cars get on. Last year, we got a nice haul of points in Imola, and I am hoping we can get some more this year. "Whilst the weekend in Melbourne was definitely a positive step forward, we still have a long way to go to get the car in the place we want it to be."
Seidl aiming for a double points finish
While McLaren were undoubtedly helped out by problems for others in Australia, team boss Andreas Seidl said he's hopeful of being able to replicate a similar result to last year's Imola race this weekend. In 2021, Lando Norris finished on the podium in third place, with Ricciardo sixth during his troubled start to his McLaren career. As a result, Seidl's targets are set high for the 2022 edition of the race. "We have a good track record in Imola since it returned to the calendar in 2020, with double points for the team at both races," he said. "We aim for the same this year, but a track like Imola often creates opportunities and the addition of the Sprint format for this weekend means we'll need to be operationally sharp and ready to capitalise. “Imola is a great, historic track and it will be interesting to see how the improved overtaking from these new cars will impact racing. "With the grid for Sunday determined by the Sprint, there is bound to be plenty of exciting racing for the fans, now with the added incentive of points for the top eight on Saturday."