Daniel Ricciardo made some progress at the British Grand Prix on Sunday, picking up his first top five finish of the 2021 Formula 1 season.
It has been a tough time for the Australian since his off-season move from Renault, with McLaren teammate Lando Norris holding the decided edge so far.
However, Ricciardo looked a lot more confident at Silverstone over the weekend, losing out to Norris by just 0.002 seconds in qualifying on Friday.
The seven-time winner then finished both Sprint Qualifying and the race directly behind Norris, a decent showing, but also admitted that his “outright pace” was still somewhat lacking.
“From a team point of view, it was a good day, with both cars in the top five,” he said. “It’s the first time this year that I’ve had a top five, so I’ll take some positives from that – definitely a good day.
“I did struggle with outright pace. There were parts of the race where I felt I couldn’t do that much more, so I’ve still got areas to work on with myself, and getting the car more to my liking, but nonetheless it was good to hold off Carlos. He was a lot quicker! He caught me extremely quickly and I knew that if I was mistake-free, I’d have half-a-chance. From that point of view, I’m super happy to end up fifth.”
McLaren still enjoy plenty of support at Silverstone and Ricciardo described the return of fans as “awesome to see”.
“Finally, it was great to see so many fans back in the stands here today,” he added.
“As a driver, it really means a lot to hear them cheering you on. There’s been plenty of McLaren caps in the grandstands too, so that’s awesome to see. I’m definitely feeling the love.”