Daniel Ricciardo is remaining optimistic while acknowledging some hiccups in his first official outing with McLaren.
The Aussie F1 star finished seventh at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, three places behind Lando Norris despite qualifying ahead of his new teammate.
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Ricciardo quit Renault after two mixed seasons in yellow and black and made the leap to McLaren, hopeful the team could continue its surge towards being the best of the midfield and cement a position among the top three constructors, after being bested only by Mercedes and Red Bull last year.
Overall Ricciardo was pleased with his debut race for his new employer, but admitted he struggled to get the most out of his car and still has lots to learn.
“If I just focus on the race itself, I struggled quite a bit in the race actually,” he said. “I couldn’t really extract the pace from the car and when I did, I could do it for one or two laps and then it would quickly drop off again with the tyres and the balance.
“I just didn’t feel like I had a good race performance, or race package.
“Obviously it’s still new to me, so I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of homework for me to do personally to obviously keep getting better. I made plenty of notes through the race of what I (felt in) the car and where that was holding me back, so I’ll give feedback, I’m sure they’ll give feedback to me and we’ll come to Imola in better shape.”
Ricciardo is remaining upbeat.Source:Getty Images
Ricciardo added seventh was a promising outcome given all his teething problems, and compared the Bahrain GP to his new beginning at Renault in 2019.
The 31-year-old’s first season with Renault was full of technological issues and reliability drama, which made many pundits question whether he’d made a huge mistake in quitting Red Bull.
But whereas adjusting to those challenges seemed like a mountain to climb for Ricciardo, he’s confident there’s less of an uphill slog required at McLaren this time around.
“This feels like very familiar territory from two years ago,” Ricciardo said. “But even so, Bahrain (in 2019) was race two and I remember feeling still quite deflated, I would say, at that point. I felt like I had a lot to still learn with the new car at Renault.
“Here, I don’t feel like I’m as off the mark as much as then, and I feel like the progress and this process now will be faster. So I’ll put in the work and I’m sure Imola will be a stronger race.”
McLaren is in a better spot now than Renault was two years ago.Source:AFP
Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain GP after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was forced to hand back the lead in the final laps, before damning video emerged that showed the Mercedes star benefited from some messy interpretations of the rules.
Russian debutant Nikita Mazepin crashed out in his opening lap in F1, prompting a reserve driver to mock the Haas star in a tweet that went viral.
Bahrain GP finishing order
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1hr 32mins 03.897sec
2. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) at 0.745s
3. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 37.383
4. Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 46.466
5. Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull-Honda) 52.047
6. Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 59.090
7. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:06.004
8. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 1:07.100
9. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:25.692
10. Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:26.713
11. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:28.864
12. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1 lap
13. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1 lap
14. George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 1 lap
15. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1 lap
16. Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1 lap
17. Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda) 4 laps
18. Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 4 laps
DNF: Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas-Ferrari), Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault), Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda), Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams)
Fastest lap: Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:32.090
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