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2021 Ricciardo's biggest year of personal growth

NEWS STORY
27/12/2021

Daniel Ricciardo says that his determination to establish himself at McLaren, combined with homesickness, made 2021 his most challenging year in terms of personal growth.

While there was that Monza win, it's fair to say that Daniel Ricciardo's first season at McLaren wasn't the overwhelming success his fans had been hoping for.

Regularly out-performed by his teammate, Lando Norris in qualifying, come race day the young Briton usually had the edge also.

The Australian admits to having made a slow start to the season, and while this was the same reason given by a number of drivers who changed teams, Ricciardo appeared to make harder work of it.

While he scored more points in the run up to the Monza win than he did in the eight races that followed, this is put down to a combination of bad luck and the team's switch in focus to 2022, with Norris also struggling far more than he did earlier in the year.

Nonetheless, Ricciardo, who has admitted that he had to adapt his driving style for the McLaren, looks back on the year as one of personal growth, indeed the Australian cites it as his most challenging season ever. This is due not only to the team switch but the simple fact that he was homesick.

"I think already moving from Red Bull to Renault I went through some, call it personal growth," he tells Speedcafe.com.

"But I think this year, probably two factors made it the biggest year for that," he admits. "One was the challenges I faced with the car, and trying to obviously gel with that, and then I think the other one was obviously being away from home."

Indeed, prior to returning to Australia for the Christmas holidays, which included a mandatory period in isolation, Ricciardo hadn't stepped on home soil since the aborted Grand Prix in Melbourne in early 2020.

"Just not having some of those home comforts or family surroundings that you kind of you just used to," he says, the McLaren driver having previously admitted that he was longing for a hug from his mother.

"I think sometimes, if you live at home, you don't really notice it because it's always in front of you," he adds. "But obviously when I left Australia and moved away from family, you certainly notice it more.

"But now, not seeing them for that long that's a bigger thing," he says. "It's made me definitely appreciate other things in life, not just racing, and I think that's given me a lot of growth."

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1. Posted by kenji, 28/12/2021 10:32

"I think that Daniel's difficulties with the Mclaren were a bit of a surprise to most though Daniel did say after the first tests at the beginning of the year that it was going to take a lot of adaptation for him to come to grips with the car. Carlos Sainz has also reiterated that for him also that the car was 'difficult' to drive. There are two aspects to this dilemma. Primarily Daniel's style of driving is what has given him his past successes and you don't need or want to alter that too much as then there are no winners and then secondly it was up to McLaren to give him the car that he needs to win races, and then he will deliver. Maker no mistake, Ricciardo is a hard and fast driver with superb race craft, he has a very deep talent. This car was alien to his style. McLaren have also gone to many lengths to deliver him a car that he can confidently drive but to make the basic changes would not be a sound policy seeing as the car was destined for the scrap heap in '22. I do believe that McLaren and Daniel have done all that they could given the circumstances. '22 will be a new beginning and hopefully his input has been taken on board in the design and expected fulfillment of what he needs to win races. Time will tell but I am confident that Daniel will be giving it all he's got and then some. "

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