Daniel Ricciardo has not helped his case with McLaren after another underwhelming performance saw him finish outside the points in 13th place at the Monaco Grand Prix.
After crashing into the barriers during practice before failing to progress out of Q2 in qualifying, Ricciardo started from 14th place on the grid – a stumbling block on a circuit that provides little opportunity for overtaking.
The Australian was passed early in the shortened 48-lap race by Pierre Gasly as the AlphaTauri driver ascended the order from 17th position off the back of a rewarding switch to intermediate tires as the wet track began to dry out.
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Speaking afterwards, Ricciardo said he expected an uphill battle given his disappointing qualifying session the day before.
“We knew today was going to be tough, obviously being Monaco, results are heavily based on qualifying so yesterday really shaped the weekend,” he said.
“I think when we saw the rain come that was quite a surprise, just how quickly and heavy it came. We thought maybe there was some opportunity there – but yeah, obviously everyone kind of ended up filling into similar strategies.
“In any case, we ultimately just weren’t quick enough this weekend. So not much more to say.”
Former grand prix winner Ralf Schumacher said he is intrigued to see how the 32-year-old’s future plays out at McLaren as statements within the team intensify.
“At McLaren, there are one or the other rumours,” he told Sky Germany.
“The rumours, as well as the statements in the team, are getting louder.
“He’s just too far away from his teammate (Lando Norris).
“I’m curious how the future looks for him. It will be quite difficult for him.”
While Ricciardo is contracted to the British team until the end of 2023, Schumacher thinks the agreement won’t count for much if McLaren decides they have had enough of the veteran drivers’ flooding.
“If it stays the way it is now, I don’t see him at McLaren next year,” he said.
“A lot is happening now. It will really start in August or September at the latest.”
Previous world champion Nico Rosberg said Ricciardo’s woes are being worsened by the strong form of his driving partner Norris.
“Let’s not forget this weekend the engineers let him down and gave him a because that was not in the right place and that’s what caused the crash in the practice session,” he began.
“And once you have that, it’s almost impossible to find that rhythm again on the weekend here in Monaco. So I think we can let him off for this weekend.
“Nevertheless, it is a tough situation for Daniel with Zak Brown publicly saying he’s not living up to expectations.
“So it’s very important for Daniel, the next couple of races to do a really good job.”
Norris finished sixth in Monaco, bringing his tally of top-10 results to five this season. In stark contrast, Ricciardo has only managed one point-scoring placing, finishing sixth in Australia.
“This is the difficult thing for Daniel. Lando, he is driving at a world-class level. He is a future world champion. he is driving incredibly well and that’s making it all the more difficult in this situation,” Rosberg concluded.
In a similar event to Ricciardo’s botched 2016 pit stop which cost him the win in Monte Carlo, a radio miscommunication at Ferrari squandered the victory for polesitter and hometown hope Charles Leclerc.
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