Seventh in a damaged MCL35M in Bahrain, Daniel Ricciardo believes there is a “lot more performance” to be found in McLaren’s 2021 F1 car.
Costing him downforce, he dropped from sixth on the grid to seventh at the chequered flag.
His team-mate, Lando Norris, was P4 for McLaren with Ricciardo 20 seconds down the road.
But while the Aussie was left disappointed, P7 is definitely not a bad result in a damaged car.
It also has the former Red Bull driver feeling confident about what he is capable of in a car that is not carrying a broken floor.
“We secured a good result in that first race and it felt amazing to make my debut for the team,” he said in the team’s Imola Grand Prix preview.
“I was a bit unfortunate with the damage we found on the car after the race and there are still a few more things to learn and get to grips with, which takes a bit of time.
“But given that, I’m confident we’ve a lot more performance left to unlock.
“We’ve been working hard back at the factory to understand how we can build on that solid start.
“I completely expected it to take a few races to feel comfortable in the car, but I’m feeling better after race one than I had done at the same point in previous years, so that’s really promising.”
Daniel’s #ImolaGP preparations. 💪
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 13, 2021
Formula 1’s next stop is Imola, a circuit where Ricciardo clinched one of his two 2020 podiums with Renault.
“Imola’s up next and we’ll give it plenty,” the Honey Badger added.
“It’s an iconic old-school track with a fast and flowing layout that provides little room for error.
“I’m really excited to be heading back there after last year’s race when I finished on the podium.
“I’m definitely planning on bringing that experience from last year to help the team this weekend and fight for points.”
Formula 1 has revised the schedule for this weekend’s grand prix, pushing forward the Saturday sessions by an hour to avoid clashing with the funeral of Prince Philip.