Daniel Ricciardo says he is still getting up to speed with McLaren as he prepares to return to the scene of his most recent Formula 1 victory.
Ricciardo joined McLaren for 2021, following two years at Renault, and trailed team-mate Lando Norris through the opening three grands prix.
Ricciardo turned the tables in Spain, scoring sixth place, two spots ahead of Norris.
However the Australian says he is still understanding the nuances of the MCL35M ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, an event at which he emerged victorious in 2018.
“I think early on I guess my input has been useful and as far as learning the car, with what we’ve got, yeah I’m taking things from Lando and he’s obviously driving very well on top of that,” said Ricciardo.
“It’s been me trying to understand what works best with this car and how to get the most out of it.
“Like Barcelona was better but I was still aware of things I wasn’t quite executing well, and I think qualifying was decent, but over a 66-lap race for sure there’s some corners you mess up here and there.
“I think now I’m aware of what I’m doing wrong but sometimes you still do it wrong! So I’m getting there. How long will it take? It’s a tough question because I don’t think we will ever… [if] I do this sport another five to eight years, maybe I’ll never feel I’ve got it right.
“We’re always kind of improving to some extent. Long story short, I think [in] the second half of this year, the car will feel completely familiar for me.
“I think for now, I obviously don’t want to make any excuses, so this isn’t like lending towards an excuse, but I’ll still have to probably think about what I’m doing as opposed to just doing it on instinct and subconscious.”
Ricciardo also stressed that he has not been taken aback by Norris’ displays in 2021, having previously been paired with younger team-mates.
“I know what they’re capable of, I’ve seen them go out and just attack the track straight away,” he said.
“It’s like, I guess the younger generation, in all sports, are just probably going to keep getting better and better.
“I’m obviously well aware of that, and for sure his speed has been impressive and – I guess we’ll have to ask him – but I guess probably even himself has taken a step up this year and is driving with a lot of rhythm and confidence for sure.”