Ricciardo jumped the ship from Renault to McLaren in the offseason, hoping to do better than the two podiums he achieved in two years with the Enstone team.
After being unable to finish in the top three in his first season with Renault, Ricciardo made team manager Cyril Abiteboul agree to have his ankle tattooed after Ricciardo’s first podium, a bet he luckily lost. at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix.
In his new McLaren squad, Ricciardo said team boss Andreas Seidl was safe from getting inked, but CEO Brown, who has a large collection of historic racing cars, made Ricciardo an offer. that he couldn’t refuse.
During the McLaren Behind-the-Scenes Unboxed video at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Brown promised Ricciardo, who is a huge Dale Earnhardt Sr fan and is racing with the number 3 NASCAR legend, a ride in the 1984 Chevrolet Monte Carlo from Earnhardt.
Brown handed delighted Ricciardo a model of the Wrangler car delivered “as a signing bonus, but I think your first podium will give you a chance to test the real thing.”
Feeling bad about P7 is a good sign
Given McLaren’s promising early form with the MCL35M, a podium seems to be on the cards for Ricciardo and teammate Lando Norris after the pair finished seventh and fourth in Bahrain.
Ricciardo was initially passed by Norris and couldn’t keep pace with the Briton, in part explained by the damage to the ground he suffered in a clash with Pierre Gasly, who the team said ” cost considerable support “.
After the race, Ricciardo said that despite his then undiagnosed lack of race pace, he was happy with how his first weekend with McLaren went.
“I think we have certainly started on a good note as a team and I feel comfortable,” said Ricciardo.
“If I’m seventh today feeling like I didn’t have a good race then I think that’s just a sign of things to come.
“I think overall the weekend was a positive one, I think it was solid and certainly from a team perspective, a nice collection of points.”
Ricciardo said he felt better after his debut with McLaren than he did two years ago after his first race for Renault.
“I probably don’t have a setup yet that I’m really sure or like, so it’s just going to take some time,” he explained.
“I feel better than two years ago as regards my condition after the first races with Renault.
“I feel like I’m definitely one step ahead of the game now, but still not where I want to be.”