RACE DEBRIEF

    Daniel Ricciardo is fired up to deliver success at McLaren, with the Australian confident he is capable of winning a championship with his new-for-2021 employers – just not this season.

    The former Red Bull racer swapped to Renault in 2018 and, for this season, joined McLaren to race alongside Lando Norris. After two races, however, Ricciardo sits behind Norris in the standings after the Briton scored a podium at Imola. But he’s still brimming with confidence.

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    When asked, in an interview with Australian publication EFTM, whether he could win a title with McLaren, Ricciardo replied: “Yeah… I mean, if it’s a yes or no, then it’s yes. Is it this year? No.

    “But already seeing the first couple of races and I look at even my lap at the weekend [at Imola] and I’m still pretty confident I’m not getting everything out of it, and I was four-tenths off pole or something. So even with that, the team’s closed the gap a bunch.”

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    Ricciardo sits behind Norris in the table but is backed to bounce back

    Next season, Formula 1 enters a new era with a sweeping set of rule changes, and McLaren – now using Mercedes power – are one of the teams hoping to make significant gains in 2022.

    It’s that new era of F1 that Ricciardo said makes him confident that the Woking team can win a title in the near future.

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    “The rule changes are going to change everything next year. But I just feel like what the team’s done – and it looks like this year’s another step in that direction – I don’t know… the structure, stability, everyone’s really… guns are a-blazing down here and it’s really cool to see and that fills me with a lot of confidence to give you a yes for the question you asked,” he said.

    McLaren head to Portimao for the Portuguese Grand Prix with 41 points in the bank – just 12 fewer than Red Bull. However, Ferrari are right on their tails – just seven points behind in the standings.