Daniel Ricciardo says he needs to swallow his pride a little in order to focus on where he can improve to match Lando Norris at McLaren.
Norris was in impressive form throughout the opening two races, finishing fourth in Bahrain and a strong third at Imola after threatening to take pole position on Saturday. While a deleted lap time dropped Norris to seventh on the grid behind Ricciardo, he was clearly the faster of the two drivers all weekend and the Australian says it’s down to himself to look at where he can be better.
“He was definitely quicker in the race,” Ricciardo said. “The initial part was actually OK. I got up to fifth and I was doing all right on the intermediates. But then I started to lose the front right, and my pace dropped off quite a lot. On that second phase on the intermediates I was not fast.
“For the restart I thought there would be a standing start, so we put the soft on. Then I saw a rolling start and I thought, ‘Ahhh…’. I tried to look after the tire but the others just kept pulling away. I started to push on it and then I was really struggling.
“For sure, a lot to learn and a lot to improve. Lando got a podium and did a strong race. That is encouraging. I have to forget a little bit of pride and actually have a look at what I can improve. I’m definitely in a productive mindset and not in a defeated mindset. I certainly see the positives and for the team as well. In the second race to get a podium already is a good start.”
Ricciardo admits part of the need to ignore his pride comes from the fact the team asked him to move over when ahead of Norris in order to see the Briton’s true pace, and Ricciardo couldn’t respond.
“I had enough laps to try to show my pace. Initially it was not too bad, and once the track started to dry a little bit I lost the right-front tire. It started to grain and that’s when I felt I was not able to go any quicker.
“The team made the call and as of this moment I have to accept that because I was not quick enough. If I was I would’ve pulled away, so I don’t want to let my pride and ego get in the way of that. Just learn from his race, learn from what they are doing better, and chip away at it.”