Ricciardo will ‘try to be creative’ after 3-place grid drop costs him P10 start in Abu Dhabi
Daniel Ricciardo qualified 10th but will start 13th in his final outing for McLaren as the Australian carries a three-place grid penalty from Sao Paulo. And he hinted that we might see the Honey Badger push the boat out on Sunday.
Ricciardo’s race-ending collision with Kevin Magnussen in Brazil led to a penalty that sees the out-going McLaren driver dropped to P13 on the grid on Sunday. But he was encouraged by his pace in Abu Dhabi – his final weekend with McLaren as Oscar Piastri races for the team in 2023.
“The encouraging thing,” he began, “we’ve looked like we’ve had pace all weekend. I think every session, we’ve been, if not top 10, I feel like we’ve been to ourselves a top-10 car, so hopefully that means something positive for tomorrow. It looks like most cars… saved two mediums for the race, so I think with strategy… we still don’t know.
“One, two-stop, who knows what it’s going to be? But we’ll see, try to be creative, but I hope on pace we can have a good race,” he said.
The McLaren driver added he was “pleased” to get into Q3 on his final qualifying appearance for the team – but said he left time on the table in Sector 2.
“There were a few too many times this year where I was out in Q1 and watching the session from [the media pen], so [it’s] nice to be in the car for an hour, you can see the sweat a little more as well.
“I was just pleased with that – I say pleased, I’m obviously not cartwheeling but I’m happy to have got the car into Q3. I would have loved to have found that extra tenth or two in Q3. I think I know where it was – the lap was okay, actually, but I felt just the middle sector, I probably lost a little bit in that chicane there.
“Probably a bit on the table there, but otherwise, considering how my year’s been, Q3s have never really been a sure thing, so happy at least that with the last one here for the season and with the team, to have lasted the hour.”
Team mate Lando Norris may have qualified seventh behind George Russell and ahead of Esteban Ocon. But the Briton said he wanted more from qualifying.
“[It’s the] best we could have done in terms of position, ahead of everyone apart from the top three teams,” he said. “So, good job to the team. Also, Daniel, top-10 again. We’re in a good position all together.
“I haven’t been the happiest in the car, have had no confidence to push on it. So, a bit disappointing, because I feel like if I had a car I could push, I could do a bit better, but it is what it is,” added Norris.
McLaren are 19 points behind Alpine in the fight for fourth in the constructors’ standings while Norris has sealed P7 in the drivers’ standings with 113 points to Ocon’s 86 ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.