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Daniel Ricciardo: The wait for his first points continues


Will his first points of 2022 come at Albert Park?

Daniel Ricciardo's wait for his first points of 2022 will continue to his home race at Albert Park in a fortnight's time, the McLaren driver forced to retire from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday after his car lost power with 14 laps remaining.

After McLaren struggled mightily for pace last weekend in Bahrain, the second visit by F1® to the high-speed Jeddah Corniche Circuit showed some signs of a revival, with teammate Lando Norris – who Ricciardo was ahead of when he retired – eventually finishing seventh.

"I lost drive, it could be a number of things," Ricciardo explained afterwards.

"It could be driveshaft, if I was to guess … I'm no mechanic, so don't take my word for it!

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"I think we could have had a double-points (finish), which is pretty awesome from where we were a week ago. It was looking alright, so I think there's some positives to take from the weekend. We still have a lot to go, but certainly some progress which is nice.

"Hopefully we're battling for some bigger positions soon. The characteristics of this circuit certainly seemed to help us. While we weren't setting the timesheets alight, we had more confidence with the car from FP1."

Ricciardo qualified 12th on Saturday, but was shuffled back three places on the starting grid after being found to have impeded Alpine's Esteban Ocon in Q2. The Australian played his strategic hand early, pitting for hard-compound Pirelli tyres on lap eight, and that decision bore fruit when the rest of the field shuffled through their own stops either side of a safety car caused by Nicholas Latifi shunting his Williams on lap 15, Ricciardo moving up to 11th on lap 25.

Ricciardo had Ocon in his sights for the final points-paying position until his car shuddered and then crawled to a halt coming out of the final corner on lap 35, eventually coming to rest at the entrance to pit lane.

Despite his disappointment at not making the finish, Ricciardo was buoyed by the feeling that the new-for-2022 cars and their radically-reprofiled aerodynamic package make it easier for drivers to follow more closely and fight with their rivals.

"The racing is fun, you can follow this year and I think that everything we hoped would come out of these new cars is so far bearing true," he said.

"Watching the battle for the lead (between Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc), it's really awesome to see that racing. Of course I want to be there, but to know that we can fight hard like that this year, it's really exciting."

Next up for Ricciardo? A home race in Melbourne for the first time in three years, and the second time in succession he's worn new colours at Albert Park, after the 2019 season-opener doubled as his first race for Renault after leaving Red Bull Racing.

"I'm excited to go back home and compete there," Ricciardo grinned.

"We can't promise amazing results yet, but we've got to keep at it and I'm sure better things are on the horizon.

"It still might ebb and flow depending on the circuits we go to, but looking at Melbourne, the changes they've made, I think it's going to be quite flowing and hopefully that suits us."