McLaren impressed at the Spanish test but Daniel Ricciardo is wary of what is still to come from Red Bull and Mercedes.
Formula 1’s opening three-day shakedown at the Circuit de Catalunya concluded last Friday with four teams separated by just over half a second.
But, as has been the situation all too often in recent years, it was a Mercedes 1-2 at the front with Lewis Hamilton ahead of George Russell and a Red Bull right behind.
McLaren did make it into the top four with Lando Norris ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc with Norris quickest on day one and Leclerc setting the pace on the second day.
It has pundits and fans alike tentatively hoping that this season McLaren and Ferrari could be in the fight for race wins, and maybe even the World title.
Ricciardo has warned that neither Red Bull nor Mercedes have thrown off the sandbags.
“Still your Red Bulls, your Mercs, they haven’t showed really anything yet,” he said to the official F1 website.
“So we’ll see what happens when that kind of opens up a little more.
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“But for now, focusing on ourselves… just trying to figure out still where we’re [weak].
“I think I know our strengths already, so just trying to know work on the weaknesses from a driving and a set-up point of view.”
With Ricciardo’s fastest lap time just over a second shy of Hamilton’s, both McLaren drivers recorded top ten times in Spain.
They also covered 367 laps, the third most of any of the teams.
“I think we’re in a good spot,” Ricciardo added, “but there’s always something to work on and improve.
” So, we’ll give the team some data to work with and some areas of work to do [and] I’ll focus on what I can keep doing better.
“Overall, a pretty flawless three days for the team, a really awesome start to the season.”
His team-mate Lando Norris has also downplayed McLaren’s form.
After clocking the fastest time on day one, the Briton admitted he’d rather be “last because now the expectations are so high, and everyone thinks we’re incredible.”
He doesn’t think they are.
“I don’t think we’re in an amazing place. I think we’re in a good place,” he said.
“We had a car which as soon as you put on the track, worked well. Of course, there’s always new things and some unexpected issues here and there. But it’s been a good start.”
He added: “But if there’s any team on the grid right now that you’ll expect to be at the front when it matters, it’s got to be Mercedes and probably Red Bull.”
Ricciardo not keeping secrets from Norris
Daniel Ricciardo is not keeping secrets from Lando Norris so they can work together in 2022