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Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Ricciardo: Return Of The King Of The Late-brakers?

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Daniel Ricciardo is not known as the Honey Badger without reason. The animal is famous for its aggressiveness and defensive attitude. The Australian driver showed these qualities in many instances in his racing career.

Particularly memorable for the Formula 1 Honey Badger Ricciardo was overtaking by late-braking and lunging into corners.

Not to be forgotten is the three-car overtaking manoeuvre in Baku 2017 that earned Ricciardo the Azerbaijan GP victory.

Since Ricciardo left Red Bull, this trait has been less present in his driving style.

He now explains that the regulations of the 2022 cars could change this.

Image Credit: Red Bull Racing

Return of the king of late-braking?

Brembo, a major brake manufacturer, is supplying all 10 Formula 1 teams for the first time in over 50 years. This change will make the field more even and give drivers like Ricciardo back confidence in braking.

Nevertheless, Ricciardo’s current team, McLaren, had problems with overheating brakes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, leaving the Woking-based team struggling to score points.

There was an aerodynamic update for the brakes in Australia that improved cooling. The update secured the team its first double points of the season.

Ricciardo explained when asked if the new regulations would help his talent for late braking:

“I think so. I think at least an element of it.

“I think there’s probably some [blame] attributed to the Akebono (braking system) [used last year], but I think that, also, the characteristics [of the car] didn’t allow me to trail the brake really aggressively.

“It was probably a combination of not having the feel, and then maybe kind of an aero characteristic of the car, but I have confidence that we’re alright.”

Ricciardo’s confidence for 2022

The MCL36 has problems in slow corners, Ricciardo admits. Fast tracks like Jeddah or Imola suit the car better.

When asked what the biggest challenge is for the 2022 car, he explains:

“At the moment, the way the speed profile works, the lower the speed, the less grip you’ve got; the higher the speed, the more grip you’ve got.

“It makes the tight, twisty stuff a little more complicated at the moment. The car just feels stiffer as well, so you kind of deal with a bit less grip, and then worse kind of ride characteristics.”

A return of the aggressive and late-braking Ricciardo would help McLaren drive further up the field together with teammate Lando Norris. We look forward to Imola and whether Ricciardo can continue his talent.

Feature Image Credit: McLaren Media Center

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