Mekies wants RB to make Ricciardo ‘impossible to ignore’

RB team principal Laurent Mekies says it’s down to the team to help get the best out of Daniel Ricciardo consistently to ensure the Australian becomes “impossible to ignore.”

Yuki Tsunoda has outperformed Ricciardo at the majority of races so far this season, scoring 19 points to his teammate’s nine and earning a contract extension that was confirmed during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend. Ricciardo – who was heavily criticized by 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve before qualifying a strong fifth and scoring points in eighth – is out of contract at the end of the season, and Mekies says there have been signs of how good the 34-year-old can be if given the right environment by RB.

“We are focused on making sure that Daniel can perform at his best,” Mekies told RACER. “And I think this weekend, as much as Miami and as much as perhaps China, are a good reminder to all of us of how high a performance Daniel can provide if he’s in the right window, if we give him what he needs.


“It’s our responsibility as a team to have that focus, and that’s what we are thinking all day long. So if you ask me now what are we thinking right now? We are thinking every day, every hour, every minute, let’s try to make sure we lock in that window for him, and get the results out.

“And it’s a bit like Yuki – if you do that then it means you are impossible to ignore. If you don’t do that, it means we haven’t managed – as a group – to do what we were supposed to do.”

Ricciardo’s chances of scoring points seemed to take a hit in Montreal due to his early penalty; the driver explaining it appeared to be a car issue that led to the jumped start before he recovered to eighth.

“A little bit of relief at the end to get back into the points, for a while we dropped out,” Ricciardo said. “It was weird because I got told I had a five-second penalty for a jump start but I know I didn’t jump the lights, so I was a bit confused.

“So I obviously questioned it, but then I remembered I feel like when I was finding the revs for the start, I’m watching the lights but I felt like maybe the car was moving. Pierre [Hamlin, race engineer] says we had a bit of an issue, so perhaps the clutch or something.

“That obviously was a little bit of a back step, and then when we pitted for an inter we lost a few positions to the cars that stayed out and we weren’t able to get much more out of that new inter. So the race was kind of getting away from us, and then as it dried towards the end we were able to pick our way through a few cars.

“Happy then to obviously finish with four points and get that. It was never going to be perfect, these conditions are so hard to get it right for everyone, so we’ll keep trying to clean it up. But all in all, a fairly good weekend from start to finish and I won’t complain, it was definitely a good one.

“I feel as well that these weekends are sometimes the hardest, especially when things aren’t going too well and you’re lacking momentum, and then we had all conditions over the weekend. So it was nice to… start to finish, keep it on track, keep it steady, keep it smooth. We needed it, of course I needed it. I won’t say anything else to the others, but it’s good, we’ll keep it quiet.”

Story originally appeared on Racer