Ricciardo will ‘just try and circulate’ in Bahrain GP

Jon Wilde
Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren during practice for the Bahrain GP. Sakhir March 2022.

Close-up of Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sakhir March 2022.

Daniel Ricciardo suggested he may need to treat the Bahrain Grand Prix as essentially an extra testing session after qualifying a lowly 18th.

The Australian’s poor Saturday was the continuation of a bad 10 days for both himself personally and the McLaren team.

Ricciardo was ruled out of the entire three days of official testing in Bahrain when struck down by an illness that turned out to be COVID-19.

In his absence, team-mate Lando Norris had to get as much mileage as possible into an MCL36 car that was suffering from overheating brake ducts, with the team having to apply an “interim fix” at the season-opening race that will not serve as a long-term solution.

Thus Ricciardo, clearly ring rusty having not driven the car on track since the unofficial test in Barcelona last month, starts the curtain-raiser with only Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi behind him, while Norris will line up a disappointing 13th on the grid.

Unless other teams have reliability issues or there is a melee, Ricciardo knows this grand prix will now mainly serve as an opportunity to build up his understanding and familiarity with the car.

“For the race, just really try and, I say, circulate,” said Ricciardo in an interview with Formula1.com. “I don’t want to say that in a non-competitive sense, but really just get as many laps and try to keep building my knowledge of the car in these conditions.

“It’s obviously still [about] trying to explore it and the limit. Obviously disappointed to be [out in Q1] but I think it’s the outcome of missing a lot of track time here.

“I think Barcelona was so different, the conditions and the feeling in the car. I expected it to copy-paste to Bahrain but that wasn’t the case at all.

“Just need to keep learning, fast-track it. No matter how experienced you are, I think this new era of cars will throw some challenges.”


It is exactly the start to the season Ricciardo did not want after a generally underwhelming first year with McLaren apart from the outstanding highlight of his Italian Grand Prix victory.

“It’s too early in the season to be down,” added the 32-year-old, who started sixth and finished seventh in Bahrain 12 months ago. “Eyes forward and head down.

“It’s a shame right now, but it’s early and we’ll look forward. That’s all you can do now. That’s the plan.”


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