Daniel Ricciardo believes qualifying will be decisive for McLaren at this weekend's F1 Emilia Romanga Grand Prix.
The 31-year-old, who joined McLaren from Renault for the 2021 season, finished 18th in Friday Practice Two after having a flying lap time deleted. However, Ricciardo remains confident that he has more pace left to unlock when required.
'It is really tricky to overtake here and we can't really afford to put ourselves at the back of the pack after tomorrow afternoon," Ricciardo told Sky Sports F1.
"But I certainly think tonight, at least from my side, it's definitely all the focus on one lap performance, to try and qualify there, be there [at the front]. And a bit like last year for me, you know, we were there when it mattered and it put us on the podium. So yeah, I think tomorrow afternoon is very important"
Imola is most certainly a track that the drivers themselves love, but with it being so narrow and quick, overtaking opportunities are few and far between. It is for this reason that the Aussie wants to make sure he is ahead of the chasing pack, even if his race pace is then compromised.
"We've got work to do tonight. I think we'll spend a fair bit of time, you know, trying to figure out what we were missing today. I think we have to make changes to, let's say, comfortably put ourselves in Q3 tomorrow. I think we do have to make some changes," Ricciardo continued.
"We're not really there yet. In saying that, it's a cool track. I still had fun, but we obviously want to find some competitiveness tomorrow."