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Ricciardo: Trying to solve McLaren problems actually made them worse

Daniel Ricciardo endured a troubled 2022 season with McLaren and ended up losing his seat for 2023 to rookie Oscar Piastri.

Daniel Ricciardo believes his McLaren Formula 1 troubles were actually accelerated by trying to solve the problems affecting him throughout his two-year stay. Ricciardo joined the team in 2021 alongside Lando Norris, but his win in that year's Italian Grand Prix aside, he was comprehensively out-performed by his younger teammate across their spell together. The Australian's contract was ended early in summer 2022, as his services were not deemed required by the team for a potential third year in 2023. He has been replaced by rookie Oscar Piastri. Set to take a year off from F1 in 2023, Ricciardo has returned to Red Bull as a third and reserve driver, four years after leaving the Milton Keynes squad for Renault. However, he believes that the harder he and McLaren worked to solve his problems, they may have inadvertently made things worse.

Ricciardo explains McLaren troubles

"I look back at my very first race with McLaren, I out-qualified Lando [in Bahrain 2021]," Ricciardo explained on the F1 Beyond The Grid podcast. "That was when I was still fairly green with the car, so I kind of wonder did we just kind of get lost along the way? "Did I then try to start too hard, did we try to engineer it too hard and get away from my strengths to drive the car in a certain way? "Maybe that is a weakness for me and something that I could not really grasp. "It is an interesting one, but ultimately I will just accept, at least from my side, that we struggled on both ends with the team trying to understand what it was and how to improve it. "But I am not perfect, I've got weaknesses and this car happens to expose a few of them. "It is something for me to work on, but obviously I didn't find a way to gel with this car often enough."

Corner entry a key problem

The McLaren suffered with front brake problems throughout the season, especially at the beginning where the drivers were forced to focus on protecting them at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The car was also tricky to drive, with Norris able to adapt better to the demands of the MCL36 than Ricciardo, out-scoring him 122-37 in the Drivers' standings. Eight-time Grand Prix winner Ricciardo believes the majority of his problems stemmed from initial entry to corners. "It all starts there, because if you struggle with a corner on the exit, normally it's a product of what's happened through the corner that's put you in a position of difficulty on the exit," he explained. "Maybe not all, but most of the difficulties start on the entry. "It's just like a feel and a limitation. "Ultimately, it's just something fundamental with the car that I just don't get."

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