Massa: We need to see Ricciardo's smile again

Massa: We need to see Ricciardo’s smile again

Massa: We need to see Ricciardo's smile again
Former Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa claimed Daniel Ricciardo’s smile is what the under-pressure driver badly needs amid the tough spell he is enduring at McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo is not having his best days in F1, as he endures a a tough time at McLaren, unable to perform in the team MCL36, continuously beaten by teammate Lando Norris.

To make things worse, the Australian crashed during practice for the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix, a race he won in 2018, but finished a lowly 13th in 2022.

Ricciardo is also being pressure by McLaren CEO Zak Brown who admits the former has not met the expectations of the team.

The smile needs to be back

But Felipe Massa, having known pressure himself in his final Ferrari days, gave the Honey Badger a piece of advice, and said to F1 TV: “I think sometimes we need to see his smile again.

“He needs to enjoy it,” the Brazilian added. “I had a time at Ferrari where it was tricky. In every moment, something goes wrong and you can’t concentrate in the right way, maybe you’re not relaxed and happy.

“You need to be happy, you need to enjoy your relationship with the team. He needs to get the smile back and enjoy [racing],” the 2008 F1 runner-up insisted.

Brown recently revealed that there are mechanisms to part ways early with the Ricciardo, whose contract runs up at the end of the 2023 season, but Massa thinks the struggling driver should phase out these discussions.

“When you are at Daniel Ricciardo’s level, he’s an amazing driver at an unbelievable level, you cannot be worried about these talks,” he said.

“These talks are small compared to what you can do on the track, so you need to concentrate on what you do on the track.

“Whether he has a contract for next year or not, it doesn’t matter,” the former Ferrari driver pointed out. “You need to put that inside, this is not a problem to worry [about].

“The problem is different, it’s understanding how to be happy and how to enjoy [racing], leave all of those things [aside], get back to racing and get back to happiness,” the 41-year-old concluded.

Ricciardo can only decide to leave earlier, not McLaren

Ricciardo struggled in his first year with McLaren as well, unable to get on top of the team’s 2021 MCL35M, with his win at Monza being an outlier.

A reset with a new car in 2022 doesn’t seem to have helped, as his performance continues to decline triggering all the talks about his future at the team and in the sport.

However, The Race reported that the decision to have an earlier separation between Ricciardo and McLaren may not be up to the team as much as it may be down to the driver’s decision based on the nature of the contract.

The publication supported their claim by what they quoted Brown saying in reference to Ricciardo’s future: “We’ll just see how things develop, what he wants to do.”

But then, everyone knows that contracts mean nothing in F1. Watch this space…