Daniel Ricciardo has reminded critics he’s “not forgotten how to drive” as rumours over his McLaren future continue to escalate. The Australian has endured a terrible start to 2022, with sixth place in his home Grand Prix representing his only points finish from seven races so far.
His latest race weekend in Monaco was also a miserable one, after he lost control of his car and crashed during second practice. ‘The Honey Badger’ would go on to finish 13th in the actual race, leaving him 11th in the drivers’ standings on just 11 points so far.
By comparison, teammate Lando Norris is seventh in 48 points, continuing the theme of 2021 where he out-performed his more experienced teammate. Ricciardo’s struggles have led to speculation from critics over his future, with rumours enhanced following recent comments from McLaren boss Zak Brown.
He admitted to Sky Sports that despite winning in Italy last year, Ricciardo, 32, had underwhelmed since signing from Renault at the end of 2020: “Short of Monza and a few races, it’s generally not kind of met his or our expectations, as far as what we were expecting,” he admitted.
“Baku presents slightly different problems,” added Monaghan. “Your opening speed is 160km/h [in Monaco], in Baku it is 300km/h.
“So, it’s not really about weight on the flap, it is lifting it up against its own aero load. I think it would be foolish to rest on our laurels. We know what we did wrong, it was in our remit to fix it, so thus far, we’re okay.”
Red Bull managed to win last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix through Sergio Perez, who capitalised on Lewis Hamilton’s costly mistake after a late red-flag restart to clinch the honours in Baku. It remains to be seen whether the Austrian team will be able to steer clear of any further reliability issues to challenge for victory once again when the five red lights go out on Sunday.