Daniel Ricciardo is still getting used to the brakes on McLaren’s MCL35M Formula 1 car but insists he won’t be leaving anything on the table at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
After making the switch from Renault to join McLaren over the winter, Ricciardo had the equivalent of just 1.5 days of running to get to grips with his new car during a condensed three-day pre-season test in Bahrain ahead of the new season.
While McLaren enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive test with Ricciardo making a strong start to life at the Woking-based team, the Australian conceded he is yet to fully adapt to the new brakes.
Despite this, Ricciardo remains confident he will be able to pull off some of his trademark late-braking overtakes if required during this weekend’s opening round in Bahrain.
“If I think back to my time at Renault, the car was pretty different to the Red Bull when it came to braking – and braking was a real strength of the Red Bull,” he explained.
“I had to get used to that difference, but we also had to minimise it by changing the setup and trying to get closer to the feeling of the Red Bull.
“The McLaren is not in a bad place with the braking though, it’s more a case of me getting used to the differences.
“By day three of testing I was in a better place with the braking and starting to feel pretty comfortable with it,” Ricciardo added.
“I think it will only improve the more time I spend in the car. Don’t get me wrong though, if I see a gap at the weekend, we’re all good, I’m going for it.”
McLaren continued its impressive upward trajectory last season by clinching third place in the constructors’ championship with two podium finishes. Heading into the new campaign boosted by Mercedes’ class-leading power units, Ricciardo is hopeful he can help the team hold onto P3 once more.
“I think it would be great to hold on to third place in the constructors’ championship,” he said.
“It’s going to be just as hard as last year to do that, if not harder, so we’re going to have to be on our A-game, but I feel like I have a lot of experience in the sport that can help the team to continue to move forward.
“And it’s not just about me, Lando [Norris] has a good amount of experience too – he got his first podium last year – so I think as a driver line-up we bring a lot of positives to the team that can drive it forward.”