Daniel Ricciardo's driver coach Michael Italiano has said that the Australian still believes he can beat anyone on the F1 grid, despite having a troubled 2021 season.
With Ricciardo joining McLaren for 2021, it proved to be a year mostly of struggle as he found it difficult to get to grips with the MCL35M.
While there was the obvious high point of victory at Monza, Ricciardo spent most of the campaign way behind teammate Lando Norris – the British driver even lapped Ricciardo in Monaco, where Ricciardo won convincingly during his last year with Red Bull in 2018.
But despite his troubles in 2021, he's still got the backing of his long-time driver coach Italiano.
"A world title one day is 100 percent the goal – it's always been the goal from day one," Italiano told the UK's Express.
"I have full belief that he's good enough for a World Championship, and he's got full belief that he's the best. If the car is good enough, he'll make it happen."
Leaving Renault behind
Ricciardo's swap to McLaren for 2021 came as somewhat of a surprise.
With Ricciardo enjoying a lead role at the Renault works team, the decision to leave for a seat at Mercedes' customer team McLaren alongside the homegrown Norris seemed, at best, a sideways move.
With Renault rebranding as Alpine for 2021, both McLaren and Alpine would claim a victory during the season but it was McLaren which clearly had the more competitive package overall.
Long-term, it remains to be seen how Ricciardo's switch will play out, but Italiano has given the move away from Renault to McLaren the thumbs up.
"I can only speak for myself. Do I think it was a good move? Yes, I do," he said.
"No offence to Renault, of course, but I really see the belief that this team has.
"Daniel made the decision, I wasn't involved. I'm obviously just here to prepare him, and so far my dealings with McLaren have been nothing but positive. It's easy for me to say I think he's made the right call.
"Getting that win also was a great way to say, 'Cool, this is why I joined, because I wanted a car that has the potential to win'."
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