Ricciardo eyes Hungary vindication after first McLaren top five at Silverstone

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Daniel Ricciardo hopes Hungary proves the British Grand Prix wasn't a one-off after his first top-five finish with McLaren.

The Australian matched teammate Lando Norris in qualifying at Silverstone but on race day, still dropped 14 seconds behind the Briton, a gap that would have been even bigger had Norris not had a slow pit-stop.

As a result, Ricciardo had a glass half full reaction to his best finish so far this season, admitting it was too soon to say he had turned a corner.

"On paper, I'm happy with my first top-five of the year, it took a while but better late than never," he said. "Happy with the points and to have both cars in the top five for the first time this year.

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“I definitely need to have a few [good races] in a row, I need to have that consistency now to have a bit more faith in saying that.

“I want to say that, I do feel better but there’s still certainly some time on the table that I need to find and get comfortable with the car.

“The first stint I could see the others just drive away, I didn’t have enough speed so there’s still definitely some things to learn and improve and work on.

“Then, when I saw Carlos [Sainz] coming in that second stint, he was so fast, although pushing to defend allowed me to stay on the limit a bit more and get a bit more comfortable with the car on the edge. I learned a bit more from that actually, so we’ll keep going."

Ricciardo's main issue though has been adapting to the McLaren's handling under braking and through slower corners, something Silverstone doesn't have much of.

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On the contrary, the Hungaroring, where the former Red Bull driver won in 2014, is characterised by slow and medium-speed turns.

"If I can have a strong weekend there that would give me the confidence that this is the upwards trajectory," he added.

That feeling was shared by McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl as he praised the 32-year-old's best weekend so far.

“As Daniel said also after the race, there are still things obviously to improve to match Lando but the important thing is he’s making steps, feeling more comfortable in the car in both quali and the race and it was a big step forward compared to previous races which was good," he commented.

"The track layout suited him more as well here, to feel comfortable to push at the limit and yeah it’s important to show the same again in Hungary in two weeks.”

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Before the weekend, McLaren had voiced some disappointment in Ricciardo's problematic 2021 season, with CEO Zak Brown suggesting it was up to Daniel to prove himself.

"He is definitely getting closer and his race pace is stronger than his qualifying pace at the moment. I think it shows how good Lando is," he said.

"(Lando) has shown he’s an awesome racing driver so I think Daniel’s up against tough competition.

"I think we are surprised, he’s surprised that he’s not nearer Lando’s pace. But the good news is everyone´s working very hard, everyone knows where we need to improve.

"Daniel knows where he needs to improve, so there’s no excuses, just hard work ahead of us.

"And I hope he gets on top of it because we need two cars constantly in the front if we’re going to hold onto third in the championship."