Ricciardo gets all-clear to race in Bahrain

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo smiles in an interview. Barcelona February 2022.

Daniel Ricciardo has returned a negative Covid test and so is set to take his place on the grid for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver has endured a far from ideal start to the 2022 campaign, having missed all three of the pre-season testing days in Bahrain.

It was initially confirmed that he would miss the first day after feeling ill, meaning team-mate Lando Norris was on testing duties instead.

And following the second day of testing action, it was then confirmed by McLaren that Ricciardo had returned a positive Covid-19 test, meaning he would be absent from day three as well.

With the Aussie isolating, McLaren, although expecting Ricciardo to be fit for the first race of the season, nonetheless agreed a deal with Alpine that means should either driver be unable to compete, then they can call upon Alpine’s reserve Oscar Piastri as a stand-in.

McLaren also retain the option to run Mercedes reserves Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne, as well as Paul di Resta.

Piastri though is not set to be needed by McLaren in Bahrain, as Ricciardo is now testing negative and is ready to go racing.

“McLaren F1 Team confirms that after testing positive for Covid-19 during last week, Daniel has now returned a number of negative tests and will therefore return to the paddock on Thursday ready to compete in this weekend’s Bahrain GP,” read a statement from McLaren.

“Daniel has been feeling better each day as he continued to recover while in isolation following local regulations in Bahrain.”

 

Ricciardo is hoping for a stronger 2022 campaign, having shown a marked improvement in the second-half of 2021, after his first season with Mclaren had gotten off to a rather sluggish start.

It was Ricciardo though who scored the team’s only victory in 2021, winning the Italian Grand Prix as team-mate Norris crossed the line P2.