Daniel Ricciardo has conceded to being "on a downward spiral" with McLaren as he has again struggled with his 'style' he feels needs to go "another step".
Ricciardo is on his worst run since joining McLaren this season - and his worst since mid-2019 - as he has failed to score a point in his last three races.
Two 12th-place finishes in Mexico and Qatar have sandwiched a retirement in the São Paulo Grand Prix.
At the last race at the Losail International Circuit, Ricciardo's result was affected by him unnecessarily needing to fuel save for two-thirds of the race due to a technical error.
That, however, merely compounded his miserable weekend after qualifying only 14th, 0.381secs adrift of team-mate Lando Norris who went on to start from sixth.
Assessing whether his recent form looked worse on paper, an honest Ricciardo said:
“Unfortunately since Austin [United States GP] it’s been a bit of a downward spiral.
“I don’t want to be too negative with that. It’s been a run like that.
“Over the weekend [in Qatar] I don’t think I sucked, I just missed half a tenth in some of these key corners and, of course, it adds up. Three and a half tenths in qualifying is not what I want.
“Gone are the days where I was seven, eight tenths off. I’ve moved on from there but there’s clearly some work to do.”
Throughout the season, the Australian has been forced to try and adapt his style to a car McLaren knew it would not be altering significantly from last year given the carry-over of the regulations and the resources required for the major changes for 2022.
Shedding a further analytical spotlight on the problem, Ricciardo added: "I can see the difference in the driving and why I’m running into some of these problems.
“I guess if it was easy then I would have perfected it already.
“Lando is driving very well. Any questions about him this year, he’s proven he’s top level but also having three years with the same car has helped him kind of dial in that.
“I definitely think I’ve improved my, let’s call it, style from the beginning of the year.
“But there’s clearly still another step to go in some of these tracks that he’s still on top more than I am.”
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