McLaren boss makes honest Mercedes admission despite Daniel Ricciardo’s Lewis Hamilton aim

F1: The drivers with the most world titles

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Andreas Seidl has conceded that while there has been progress made, McLaren still remain someway behind Mercedes in a dent to Daniel Ricciardo’s title dream. Last season, McLaren finished in third behind the Silver Arrows and Red Bull, with 202 points and just two podium finishes.

Yet that hasn’t stopped Ricciardo from daring to dream for his new team, after recently laying out his plans to upset the odds next season.

While McLaren are happy with the progress made last season, Seidl – who became team principal in 2019 – feels like there is more to come.

“We have clearly not yet fully exhausted our potential,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

“The plan also requires a massive upgrade on the infrastructure side. Otherwise, you will run into limits. Some of our infrastructure was completely out of date.”

He later conceded that his team still have work to do if they’re to chase down Mercedes.

“We have improved with the car, but the gap to Mercedes is still large,” the German added.

“We were able to shorten it by around three tenths in 2020, but we are still overtaken in many races. You shouldn’t lose sight of that with the successes we’ve had over the past two years.

“In terms of durability, we did not have a single failure on the vehicle side. We were even leading. We put a lot of energy into this topic over the winter from 2019 to 2020 and already on the test kilometres in winter saw that we’ve really improved.

“Or the racing strategy. We did a top job there. Compared to the competition in the battle for third place, we scored many points by making the right decisions on the pit wall.

“We have improved with the car, but the gap to Mercedes is still large,” the German added.

“We were able to shorten it by around three tenths in 2020, but we are still overtaken in many races. You shouldn’t lose sight of that with the successes we’ve had over the past two years.

“In terms of durability, we did not have a single failure on the vehicle side. We were even leading. We put a lot of energy into this topic over the winter from 2019 to 2020 and already on the test kilometres in winter saw that we’ve really improved.

“Or the racing strategy. We did a top job there. Compared to the competition in the battle for third place, we scored many points by making the right decisions on the pit wall.

“Overall, we were more consistent. Our car was a better all-rounder. As a team on the racetrack, we consistently delivered a great performance. And we had a reliable and fast driver pairing.”

Ricciardo finished in fifth place last season with Renault before making the switch ahead of the new season.

The Australian feels as though the clock is ticking if he is to become a world champion but believes he has a great shot at doing so with McLaren.

“I’m probably against saying my last chance,” he told Speedcafe.com. “I certainly don’t want to drag it out ’til I’m 40, still scraping, try to get it.

“I certainly hope I’ve achieved it before then, but I don’t want to say it’s my last chance, but it’s a big chance and one that I certainly want to make the most of.

“Looking at what Lewis has done the last few years, I think he’s got maybe three years on me, three or four, and he’s obviously still performing at a high level.

“So I’m pretty much in the mindset, If I want to keep doing it, if I’ve still obviously got that love and that desire in me, then I can ride this out for a few more years for sure.

“Right now, I certainly feel like I’m still on that good level of my prime and that wealth of experience. Definitely want to make it happen sooner rather than later, and before I’ve got grey hairs hopefully I’m holding a big trophy.”

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