Daniel Ricciardo arrived in Russia fresh off a Grand Prix victory after a triumphant race for McLaren at Monza – in which Lando Norris backed up a one-two finish for the team. And while both were still basking in the glow of that result, neither was predicting a repeat win here in Sochi…
Ricciardo won his first Grand Prix since Monaco 2018 with an impeccable performance in Italy, Norris taking his best career finish to secure a one-two finish for McLaren. For the Australian, who left Red Bull at the end of 2018, there was talk in the pre-Russian GP press conference that his latest win served as vindication for his choice to leave Red Bull – and he was also asked whether he thought he might never win a Grand Prix again, especially as he had difficulty getting up to speed at Mclaren.
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“I didn’t really think like that, even through the struggles,” said Ricciardo. “I never really got into the mindset of ‘is this it?’ Was Monaco the last time I’ll get there? I knew I’d probably have to work a little bit harder for it at times but no… like last year for example, getting the Renault back on the podium, that was such a target and achieving that, I took a lot of fulfilment and obviously so did the team.
“I mean Monza was, yes, if you like, it did make everything worth it I guess but it was just nice, nice to stand back up there and to do it with another team – there’s certainly a sense of pride in that, in making it work and getting to that top step with another outfit and none other than McLaren so there’s certainly some feelgood stuff about it. I like winning, winning is good so it was good to do it again,” he said.
Daniel Ricciardo: Italian GP win fills McLaren with ‘swagger’ and ‘so much confidence’
But asked if he could win here in Sochi after his Italian GP triumph, Ricciardo was dismissive of the notion.
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“Ah, come on, mate let’s just chill for a bit,” he replied with a laugh. “We’re just going to keep doing our best. Victory aside, I’ve felt better you know the last few weekends, I’ve felt more comfortable and of course just excited to come racing.”
Likewise Norris wasn’t looking for another McLaren win in Russia – where Mercedes have won every Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom – with the Briton adding that McLaren will still see their performance ebb and flow depending on the circuit.
Lando Norris felt like he ‘just missed out on something’ with P2 at Italian GP
Asked if McLaren could win here, he said: “Probably not, but we’ll try our best, we’ll try maximise everything. There’s obviously tracks we’re definitely better at and ones we’re worse at but there’s also always these opportunities that arise for us that we’re normally good at taking advantage of and being in a good position at the right time and so on.
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“I think we had an amazing weekend in Monza… but it doesn’t mean we’re going to be like that every single weekend from now on, we didn’t find anything magical. We just had a bit of a better weekend, things flowed a bit better for us, the car suited the track more and that’s the way it’s going to be for the rest of the season: some track we’re going to struggle more, but how good or bad we’re going to be, I don’t know yet,” he concluded.