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F1 2022, French Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Zak Brown, contract, silly season, driver market

Daniel Ricciardo says he knows he has what it takes to win in Formula 1 – as long as he has a car that can fight at the front.

Ricciardo arrived at McLaren as a seven-time grand prix winner and 31-time podium winner with ambitions to lead the team, but within 18 months of joining Woking he struggled at the top of his career.

Although he managed to break McLaren’s nine-year win drought with a stunning win at Monza last year, it has been his only podium in orange to date.

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Meanwhile, team-mate Lando Norris claimed five podiums after Ricciardo joined the team, and the Briton comfortably topped Australia’s points standings last year and again this season.

Although he is under contract until the end of next season, it has led to uncomfortable questions about Ricciardo’s future in Formula 1, forcing him to quash rumors of an early exit on social media last week.

But speaking to Fox Motorsports host Jessica Yates, Ricciardo said there is no doubt about his ability to win races and that only his machinery is separating him from the next stage.

“Everybody knows my background in the sport,” he said. “I haven’t won a hundred races, but I’ve won enough to let people know I can do it.

“I think that’s one thing I always show: Give me a winning car and cross the line first. I feel like I never leave a win on the table.

“It’s really just trying to get to that point.”

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Speculation over his time at McLaren began with comments from chief executive Zach Brown that Ricciardo was not meeting expectations and that there were ways to end his contract early, but Ricciardo said this was just evidence of how strong the team was. Being when he has the right machine under him.

“I definitely think sometimes people’s expectations are that I don’t always live up to that, because obviously with what I’ve done and winning Monza and stuff like that.

“I understand, and I’ll follow Zach’s suggestion. I don’t go up and down in 12th. If the team was celebrating me crossing the line at 12, I’d be like, ‘Huh, what’s going on?’ I would have said. So I completely understand.

“I think a lot of it comes down to what they think. They think, they believe in me, they know I can do it, so they’re like, ‘Okay, what do we need now to make it happen?’

“The team is definitely coming together and trying to help me and find a car that I’m comfortable with so that we can be comfortable at the front.

“We’re not that far away from it clicking or happening, and it’s like, ‘OK, we’re going to consistently show the level of performance that I want to show and I know I can. [show]'”

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Ricciardo’s recent form has shown signs of improvement. His recovery from a bad start on the sprint weekend in Austria was strong and he was at least as fast as Norris in Azerbaijan and Canada in June.

He also held on to win 11 rounds in Italy last year before overtaking Norris in the second half of the season.

Ricciardo says he is confident he and the team can pull each other before the end of the year.

“You’ve certainly seen some good times [with McLaren] Definitely, but definitely not done,” he said. “Certainly some – and I’m sure I’ll be able to get some personally – still great results this year and in the years to come.

“It’s like Monza last year. I said I didn’t go, and I feel like I have to say it again. Having said that, I expect great results, but I’m still here in case anyone is interested or can help.

The only place to watch all the action from the French Grand Prix is ​​this Sunday at 11pm on Fox Sports and Kayo.

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