Daniel Ricciardo hits back at critics after tough start to F1 season: ‘I have not forgotten how to drive’

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Daniel Ricciardo has insisted he has “not forgotten how to drive” amid talk of the Aussie losing his Formula One seat with McLaren.

A poor start to the season has created doubt over the 32-year-old’s future with McLaren CEO Zak Brown talking publicly of potential break clauses in Ricciardo’s contract, should he continue to be outperformed by teammate Lando Norris.

But the former Red Bull and Renault driver is adamant that he can come out the other side of this rough patch.

“It kind of ebbs and flows where sometimes I’ll get down on myself,” Ricciardo told Crash. “But then other times, I’m fired up and motivated to prove a lot of people wrong and prove myself right.

“More times than not, I’ll kind of chuckle at the doubt. Because even last year, for sure, there were times where I was trying to figure it out.

“But already in April and May [last year] there were articles like, ‘He’s lost it’. But six months earlier in 2020 I was regarded as one of the standout drivers of that season.

“The reality is I’ve not forgotten how to drive in six months, I haven’t lost my competitive edge, it’s just kind of a moment in time that I knew I could come out of. You are always going to get people saying this and that. It is what it is. It’s up to me in the car to prove them wrong.

“But no one’s going to get into me more than myself as well, so someone telling me that I need to pull my finger out is not going to change me because if they are telling me to pull my finger out then I’m telling myself much more.”

F1 heads to Baku this weekend for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl is cautious over predicting success for the team sat fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, with no major upgrades coming for Sunday’s race.

“We made a good step forward in Barcelona and addressed certain weaknesses the car had,” he stated. “But at the same time, a lot of other cars did as well.”

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