F1: Ricciardo laughing all the way to the bank
–by Mark Cipolloni–
The McLaren F1 team sacked driver Daniel Ricciardo after last season with one year left on his contract because they felt he was not performing at the level he should be.
They also wanted to sign Oscar Piastri before anyone else snatched him up.
Ricciardo maintained that the car was not easy to get into a window where he could drive it to the best of his ability.
The first two races of 2023 have been disasters for the McLaren team. The team did not hit its design targets in the offseason and the cars have suffered terrible reliability issues.
The latest mishaps for McLaren in Jeddah this weekend have once again raised questions about whether they were right to dump Ricciardo. “We’re on lap 3 and McLaren has already had two pit stops. This is insane. Again, the winner here is Daniel Ricciardo,” one pundit tweeted.
Another added: “Daniel Ricciardo definitely smiling even more than usual today with that McLaren result,” while a third commented: “The real winner is Daniel Ricciardo getting a load of cash out of that team before it crashed and burned. Feel bad for Piastri in many ways looking at that Alpine and probably saying why did I leave. Woeful.”
“I definitely think we were worse today,” McLaren driver Lando Norris told Sky Sports, comparing the car’s pace to Bahrain. “Our strengths and weaknesses clearly just aren’t in the right places.
“I wouldn’t even say we’re good in the corners, but we’re way too slow in the straights and we can’t use what we have in the corners, in high speed.
“I can get close, but then we just can’t do anything more than that. Even the Williams, when I got DRS open I’m barely quicker than them.”
Saudi Arabian GP Fastest Laps
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||50||1:31.906||241.838|
|2||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||38||1:32.188||241.098|
|3||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||50||1:32.240||240.962|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||49||1:33.222||238.424|
|9||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||44||1:33.374||238.036|
|10||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||50||1:33.392||237.990|
|11||21||Nyck De Vries||AlphaTauri Honda||49||1:33.609||237.438|
|12||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||50||1:33.780||237.005|
|13||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||49||1:33.894||236.718|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda||50||1:33.931||236.624|
|15||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||49||1:34.122||236.144|
|16||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||48||1:34.287||235.731|
|17||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||37||1:34.384||235.489|
|18||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||49||1:34.469||235.277|
|19||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||7||1:35.140||233.617|
|20||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||24||1:35.567||232.574|