Daniel Ricciardo admitted there was work to do after his maiden race with McLaren at Bahrain, however remained upbeat about his fortunes for the rest of the season.
The Australian out-qualified teammate Lando Norris to start sixth, but struggled in the race to finish in seventh, while his younger teammate was just short of the podium in fourth.
In his race debrief, Ricciardo was philosophical about how his maiden weekend with McLaren had gone.
“I think the weekend as a whole (I’m) pretty satisfied,” Ricciardo told Sky Sports. “The race itself, I struggled with pace, I wouldn’t say it was a strong race by any means, but plenty to work on and learn from.
“I’m definitely not discouraged, just still definitely some work to do.”
Providing further detail, Ricciardo acknowledged he was strong during the early part of a stint, but fell away sharply compared to his rivals.
“I think those first few laps when we got restarted, my pace was more comparable to Lando and Charles (Leclerc),” he said. “But as the race went on, I felt like I was just falling and falling back, and just struggled to push on the tyre, then keep.
“I felt like I would just cook it.
“I’m sure there’s some finessing I can do with the car and learn what sweet spot I’m after in the set-up.”
However, compared to his second event with Renault at the same venue in 2019, Ricciardo believes he is much closer to the leading teams.
“I remember with Renault two years ago, this was race two and I was leaving pretty down still after race two, and it did take time,” Ricciardo explained.
“I certainly feel much better right now, I feel like for sure there are still things to learn, but I’m certainly much closer to where I need to be.
“It’s just going to take time. Even the power unit, I’m just trying to figure out throttle settings and all that.
“Naturally that’s going to take a bit of time.”
Previewing the second event of the year at Imola, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on April 18, Ricciardo’s confident the high-speed characteristics of the circuit will suit his McLaren.
“I think pretty good,” he said. “Looking at the data yesterday we seem decent in the high speed and I guess that fast, flowing nature like here, six and seven we were pretty good.”
“I would guess Imola will be better for us and I really enjoyed last year.
“I loved that track.
“I’ll do my homework, come back and do better.”
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