Daniel Ricciardo’s eighth Grand Prix win may be still fresh in his memory but his boss has dragged him back to earth with a fresh reality check.
Daniel Ricciardo is still flying high after his Italian Grand Prix win just over a week ago but his boss is doing his best to bring the Aussie back down to earth.
When Ricciardo crossed the line first at Monza in the first McLaren 1-2 since 2010, the party was quick to get into full swing.
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The usually buttoned down team principal Andreas Seidl was leading the cheers, CEO Zak Brown did a shoey with Ricciardo and Lando Norris on the podium and the celebrations continued throughout the week.
But with his first win since Monaco 2018 when he was still driving for Red Bull, Ricciardo delivered a pointed message to those who had written him off.
“Deep down I knew this was gonna come,” Ricciardo said over team radio after claiming victory. “So thanks … thanks for having my back. And for anyone who thought I left, I never left. I just moved aside for a while. Thanks guys.”
The party reportedly went deep into the night but Seidl revealed the Aussie was in bed early after a taxing race he led from the first corner to the chequered flag.
“It’s been a while since we were able to celebrate a victory, that’s why it was important for me,” Seidl told F1-Insider and Sport1.
“We live on these emotions. It was great to see the energy that was released.
“The weekend in Monza was intense, even the evening at the track was quite long. Daniel then went straight to bed, so I took over the party with the guys at the bar.
“We then made up for the party (with Daniel) in Woking.”
But while no one can take the win away from him, Seidl’s tune has changed in a week.
Ahead of the Russian Grand Prix on the weekend, Seidl has reminded Ricciardo of the old adage that you’re only as good as your last race.
And the race before Monza at the Dutch Grand Prix, Ricciardo finished outside of the points in 11th, having limped from 10th in qualifying to 11th in the race, a spot behind Norris despite the young Brit starting in 13th.
“What I respect, looking at Mercedes and Red Bull, is that they have a car that can fight for the win every single weekend,” Seidl said.
“That is the gap we have as a team compared to these guys, so I am not too focused on a 1-2 or whatever. In the end it is a sensational result for us, but only seven days before we got destroyed in Zandvoort in terms of performance.
“That is the gap we still have to the top teams with our car, and that is why we have to keep working hard in order to keep closing the gap in all kinds of circuits.”
Ricciardo, who finished third in the sprint race qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix as well as winning the fastest lap on the final lap of the race, scored 27 points but it only took him to 83 points for the season — which is only good enough for eighth so far, still 13.5 points behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and 49 points behind his teammate Norris.
The result moved McLaren back into third in the constructors championship, despite Ricciardo still 49 points behind Norris this season.
A rejuvenated Ricciardo is something Ferrari star Charles Leclerc said was “bad news” for the rest of the grid as it could take McLaren to the next level.
However, with Ricciardo having several false dawns this season, Seidl’s reminder is a timely one.
Ricciardo’s best ever finish at a Russian Grand Prix was last year when he both started and finished the race in fifth.