Daniel Ricciardo admits he still needs to make "another step" next year in order to get to where he wants to be, after a mixed first campaign at McLaren. Ricciardo, who finished in eighth in the Drivers' Championship, struggled for the majority of the season although he was able to win at the Italian Grand Prix as he led McLaren to the only 1-2 by any team this year. In contrast, teammate Lando Norris had a breakthrough season, scoring four podiums and a maiden pole position in Sochi, as he outclassed Ricciardo for the majority of 2021. "[This year] started not great, got better, but still with some dips," Ricciardo told media, including RacingNews365.com . "[I was] definitely happier with the second half, but there's still some things to work on, so I'm not like overwhelmed with it. "Let's say I made a step. Clearly, I still need to make another one next year to get where I want to be. Probably more on Saturdays just to give me that track position for Sunday and keep me out of a little bit more of a mess - that's what I'll work on."
Explaining his Abu Dhabi race
Ricciardo finished his final race of the season outside of the points in 12th, as traffic hindered his progress in Abu Dhabi. The Australian, who started from 10th, was stuck behind Esteban Ocon during the first stint of the race and was overcut by Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso due to the timing of the Virtual Safety Car. He says he benefited from the timing of the Safety Car and red flags one week earlier in Saudi Arabia, so the luck swung around at the Yas Marina Circuit. "I think I got up to ninth, then I think I was sitting there and I feel like I had a bit more pace than Ocon, but it was still tricky to overtake," said Ricciardo. "Ultimately, I probably didn't have enough pace to get by, and so that was that, and then I think [with] the VSC, Gasly and Fernando were able to jump us, so that put us out, and then we're just kind of out of position, so [it's] a bit tricky. "I think we had a bit more pace in clear air, but to be honest that's on me. That's what happens when you qualify 10th and you're in, I guess, that park. "[It's] definitely something I want to improve next year, those Saturdays, and make Sundays a little easier for myself."