Johnny Herbert suggests Daniel Ricciardo talent may have ‘evaporated’, McLaren, F1 news

Former Formula 1 driver turned analyst Johnny Herbert has questioned why Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo has struggled in the sport since his move to McLaren, theorising his talent has “evaporated”.

Following an underwhelming two-year stint at Renault, Ricciardo joined McLaren ahead of the 2021 season, partnering with British young gun Lando Norris.

But Ricciardo’s maiden season in orange has been anything by smooth sailing, with the Perth driver struggling to come to terms with the MCL35M’s braking system.

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The 32-year-old is currently sitting in eighth place on the F1 drivers’ standings, 50 points behind Norris.

Ricciardo seemingly turned a corner at Monza last month, winning the Italian Grand Prix to help McLaren secure its first 1-2 finish in the sport since 2010.

But the triumph was a lone highlight in what has otherwise been a disappointing 2021 campaign for the Australian.

Daniel Ricciardo failed to escape Q1 at the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“Daniel has been a shocker,” Herbert told Motorsport Magazine.

“We never expected him to struggle so much.

“I can empathise with him and it’s terrible, especially when it’s been so long and you still haven’t found the answer.

“Still, we know how good he is and he knows it too.

“I’ve heard Daniel’s problems are brake-related, but it’s also down to aerodynamics,” he added.

“If it’s already causing us headaches, think what it’s like for him.

“He’s not too old, he hasn’t had a bad crash. There have been plenty of drivers for whom it (their talent) just evaporated.

“I go back to Jean (Alesi). He was the ‘next big thing’ and yet he only won one Grand Prix. It didn’t work for him, with all his natural talent.

“The problem is that if it doesn’t get better, the rumours start, and once that starts and the tornado accelerates, you’re just a passenger.”

The F1 season resumes next weekend with the United States Grand Prix, which is scheduled for 6am AEDT on Monday, October 25.