It was a weekend Daniel Ricciardo would rather forget in São Paulo, forced to retire after 51 laps for the first time in 2021, breaking a streak of 34 consecutive race finishes for the Australian.
Starting from 11th on the grid after a lacklustre Sprint Qualifying session, Ricciardo avoided incident in the opening lap, moving into the top-10 where he would sit comfortably for the majority of the afternoon.
Despite the obvious disappointment post-race, Ricciardo remained upbeat about the team’s performances in Brazil after the team managed just a single point for the second weekend in a row.
“It was going okay! We went forwards at the start, which was definitely one objective after yesterday” said Ricciardo after his retirement from the race.
“We had some good battles, [Esteban] Ocon made a good move on me early in the race and I was able to get him back with pretty much the same move, so that felt good.”
“After that, we were in the fight with [Pierre] Gasly, and with Ferrari as well. We knew they [Ferrari] had to two-stop. I think they had a bit more pace but maybe through strategy we could've disrupted them.”
In a further blow to McLaren’s hopes of a P3 finish in the Constructors Championship, teammate Lando Norris suffered an opening lap puncture sending him to the back of the grid after contact with his former teammate Carlos Sainz.
Norris managed to salvage a point after working his way back through the field to finish tenth, but the result sees Ferrari move 31.5 points clear of McLaren in the race for third in the Constructor’s Championship.
With a debut Grand Prix in Qatar awaiting teams next weekend, Ricciardo remains optimistic heading into the final three races of the season.
“It was a much more promising day than yesterday. We’ll take the positives from that, and we’ve got another chance next week.”
“Three to go, we’ll keep fighting”.