Ricciardo “had a very open chat” with Mekies following F1 Monaco GP to try and understand 2024 difficulties

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool
Spread the love

After an impressive qualifying performance, Daniel Ricciardo will start Sunday’s race in fifth position. The Australian driver who criticised earlier in the weekend by 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, was asked whether he was sending a message to the Canadian through his performance.

Ricciardo replied that he had not heard Villeneuve’s comments but dismissed the former champion’s comments, adding that he does not want to waste energy on him.

“I still don’t know what he said but I heard that he’s been talking shit, but he always does. I think he’s hit his head a few too many times so I don’t know if he plays ice hockey or something.

“But yeah anyway, [I] won’t give him the time of day, but all those people could suck it.

“I want to say more but it’s alright. I will leave him behind.”

Ricciardo was then asked whether the announcement of his teammate’s extension had further motivated him to perform well in qualifying, outpacing Tsunoda by a couple of tenths in Q3 to grab P5 on the grid, 3 places ahead of the Japanese driver.

Tsunoda was confirmed as having extended his contract with RB F1 only half an hour before the start of the qualifying session.

While Ricciardo did not comment directly on Tsunoda’s extension, he did state that he had been highly motivated to improve, adding that he aimed to “feel those highs” which came with a good performance. He added that he was happy to be back at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, emphasizing his love for the track and recalling his first win 10 years prior.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve obviously been highly motivated to do more than I have been this year. You know, obviously Miami was a bit of a one-off, but I know how good those results feel and that’s why I to it – to feel those highs.

“So, I think, just coming into the week, there was, I don’t know… everything just felt right. I was really happy just to come back to this circuit and drive her because I love it.

“And yeah, today’s, you know, 10 years to the day of my first win and that day changed my life. So there’s just, yeah, a lot of nice emotions coming into it and I just felt like I was ready to do some good shit.”

The Australian was questioned as to whether there was any explanation as to why he had been able to perform so well. Ricciardo stated that there were “two parts”. The first part, he said, was the confidence that he had had in the car, through both of the rain-affected first and second practice sessions.

“So there’s, I would say, two parts. You know, firstly the car from when we put it down yesterday on track, obviously okay, FP1 not so much, FP2 a little bit more of a… more laps got done. I just had confidence in it. The car felt good. I was able to kind of slide it and drive a little bit more aggressively so that I just felt like I was getting on top of it. So yeah, I felt like the car was good.”

Ricciardo admitted that the second part of his performance was as a result of his own introspection. He stated that it was important for him to be “in a good place” to be able to achieve such results and acknowledged that that had been something that he had been struggling with in the 2024 season, despite it having been “effortless” in previous years.

“But also, part two is, we’re always going to be trying to perfect the car but I also have to look at myself and make sure that I’m in a good place to be able to do results like this.

“And yeah, it’s obviously been a bit harder for me to find that sweet sport this year, and I look back at 10 years ago, I think it was kind of effortless, you know…”

The VCARB driver stated that after Monaco, he had reflected on his performance and had realised that there were other off-track factors which were affecting his performance.

He confessed that he felt as if he had been spending too much of his time on non-racing activities and that had resulted in him being “a bit more flat” in his race performance.

“After Monaco, I tried to just understand. I was always looking at the on-track stuff, you know. I can brake later here or do this and that, but it was like, ‘okay, what’s maybe some other things affecting my performances? Is there, am I coming into a race weekend not feeling energised or not feeling this or that’?

“So yeah, I think I just had some good, a little bit of good, probably like self-therapy, after Monaco, and just sat back and had a look at maybe the things I’m doing wrong away from the track or maybe giving too much of my time to people and by the time I get to race day or something, I’m a little bit more flat, because I know it’s in me.

“So, as I said, we’re always going to be trying to fine-tune the car but deep down, I know what I can do, and it’s just making sure that I’m in this spot to be able to do it more often.

“So, I’m trying to take as much accountability as possible and yeah, just think a little bit broader.”

Ricciardo was then asked what he thought was lacking from his Sunday performance, as typically, he was quicker and performed better during the Saturday qualifying sessions than in the race.

He replied stating that he was trying to address that issue and had asked his team and inner circle for constructive criticism after his performance during the Monaco Grand Prix.

From their comments, he concluded that his issue was mostly his off-track energy management, and re-iterated that he was trying to improve that.

“After Monaco, because it was a weekend where I was a bit down, probably emotionally, after not doing well on a track that I obviously love.

“And yeah, basically just everyone around me, you know – the team, engineers, my inner circle as well – just like ‘guys like open-book constructive criticism, give it to me. What do you think I can clean up? Where do you feel I’m maybe missing something?’

“And so, yeah, a lot of it was kind of just, probably, management, like energy management over the course of the weekend.

“So, it’s not even what I’m doing in the car. It’s just what gets me into the car feeling like I’m fucking ready to go. So, it’s just trying to clean up some of those things and if there’s anything on my mind try to just get it off my chest and yeah, I just got into this weekend feeling just certainly a bit lighter and, yeah, just hungry and happy and ready to say fuck you to a few people [laughs].”

The VCARB driver was asked whether he had been more assertive of his needs to improve his performance.

Ricciardo recalled that after the team debrief in Monaco, he had stayed back with Team Principal Laurent Mekies to reiterate his need for open communication and mutual understanding on matters relating to his performance.

He stated that due to his age and experience, he preferred this direct communication as he found it to be more productive. This direct communication, he added, continued in the following week as the team prepared for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Yeah, I mean after Monaco, like after the debrief, I stayed back for a little bit and yeah, it was just because, I mean, I feel like under Laurent and that everyone’s very good like we’re pretty open with each other, but I wanted to make sure that there was nothing that they saw that they needed to unload, and you know I just basically wanted to know like ‘what do you guys think is going wrong? You know tell me if there’s something you see from me’.

“I want to try and fix it but I’ll also tell you guys what I feel, and maybe why I do feel a little bit flat or maybe the schedule’s a bit too much at the moment or whatever.

“So, we just had a very open chat, and it was great because I also want to give them the comfort to tell me straight. Like, I don’t, I’m nearly 35, [and] I don’t need too many more pats on the back. I would rather people just be very direct with me, and yeah, I felt like it was just productive and that continued through the week after.”