Daniel Ricciardo has underperformed since joining McLaren at the start of the 2021 F1 season. How bad has it been for the Australian statistically-speaking?
Despite beating Lando Norris to McLaren’s first win since 2012 at Monza last year, Daniel Ricciardo’s time with the Woking outfit hasn’t lived up to expectations.
Signed on a massive bumper deal as a replacement for Carlos Sainz, Ricciardo’s underperformance has almost led to his premature exit from the team, with Oscar Piastri reportedly lined up as his replacement for 2023, opening up the driver market.
McLaren are likely to have to pay-off Ricciardo for him to leave the team – an eye-watering $21 million (£13.5 million) with a year to go still on his contract.
In terms of the key statistics, how bad has it been for Ricciardo in 2022 up against Norris?
Ricciardo v Norris in 2022
Best finish: 6th – 3rd
Best grid position: 6th – 4th
Ricciardo’s poor performance is costing McLaren in the constructors’ championship with Alpine currently fourth in the pecking order.
Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso have consistently scored points this season, while McLaren are relying on Norris to carry the team.
One glaring stat that shows how much Ricciardo is struggling this year is looking at qualifying sectors versus Norris.
Data from Lights Out Blog show that in the 13 qualifying sessions this year, Ricciardo has only set a faster sector time than Norris on five occasions (34-5 in Norris’ favour).
Comparatively, Alex Albon is 28-8 against Nicholas Latifi; Valtteri Bottas is 29-10 against Zhou Guanyu; Sebastian Vettel is 21-9 compared to Lance Stroll.
Ricciardo is also reportedly the fifth-highest earner on the grid – a whopping £12.2 million per year.
Compared to the rest of the grid, Ricciardo is on more money than Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc (£9.8m each) and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (£8.6m).
Norris’ performances versus Ricciardo also earned him a sizable pay rise – making him the third behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on £20 million per year.
Ricciardo’s performances don’t warrant being one of the best paid drivers on the grid.
No doubt that his likely replacement – Piastri – will be on significantly less for 2023.