With the F1 season taking a mid-year pause and the teams on a well-earned break, it’s a chance for experts to give their post-mortem on the performance of the drivers.
And it’s safe to say the knives are out for Daniel Ricciardo.
Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship™ Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
The Australian has struggled in his first year at McLaren since moving across from Renault and is ninth in the drivers’ championship, with no podium finish and only one top-five result to his name.
Ricciardo’s woes have been heightened by the success of his younger teammate Lando Norris, who sits third in the drivers’ standings and is going from strength to strength.
At the halfway point of the season, he is disappointed with his performance but determined to turned things around in the back half of the year.
“From an on-track point of view, like a results point of view, I wouldn’t give myself too much of a flattering grade,” Ricciardo told Autosport UK last month.
“The results aren’t through a lack of trying. And I certainly feel like I’ve put in the work. I think it will eventually come to fruition, and it will show,” he said.
“But so far, the on-track stuff, I don’t know … call it a five out of 10. I’m certainly wanting to improve that.”
“Although my score says ‘call it a five’ – and it’s what it is now – I am uber-confident that increases as the year goes on.”
Ricciardo had solid results at the French, Austrian and British Grand Prix, and was on the end of some horrific bad luck that ruined his race in Hungary.
But his progress hasn’t been enough to satisfy some pundits, with former race car driver Tom Coronel labelling Ricciardo one of the disappointments of the season so far.
“It’s too obvious not to mention Ricciardo,” Coronel wrote for Dutch website Formule1.nl.
“The difference with Norris is really too big. The best part was that after Monaco, he admitted it himself: ‘Norris does things with that car that I cannot do’. If you say that, it’s really already done.”
Coronel, a Formula 3 driver, isn’t holding out much hope Ricciardo can improve and get the best out of his car like championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.