Daniel Ricciardo says that seeing other drivers struggle at their new teams makes it easier for him to handle his own issues.
While the Aussie has scored points in each of his first three races with McLaren, team-mate Lando Norris has comfortably had the upper hand on him so far.
He isn’t the only one not enjoying the perfect start to life in a new car though, with Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz all being beaten by their team-mates.
Ricciardo admits that he is taking some comfort from this.
“At the end of the day, I’m always going to look at myself, and I’ll always expect the most out of myself and not really be too phased by what the rest are doing,” he said.
“But knowing I’m not alone in the struggle, so to speak, it makes a little easier to tolerate, the pain is spread across a few of us, so it’s okay. We’re all experiencing something that is, for whatever reason, quite difficult at the moment.
“But it’s all so early, and I think that’s the truth. Lewis [Hamilton] got asked something about Valtteri [Bottas] and it’s like ‘it’s only race three and Valtteri did get pole in the last race’ so it’s quite quick to jump to conclusions.
“That’s why we as drivers have to know where we are and not be too focused on the external noise.”
“I think the totally relaxed state will come, and that’ll come when I’m comfortable in the car and understand the car,” he added.
“But whilst my brain is still trying to process it, what works and what doesn’t, I’m fully engaged and fully conscious in all parts of the corner.
“You could say that that takes some energy away from you, and it can be a little bit taxing, but right now I need to be in that state to make the next step, and then I can eventually come out of that and drive freely.
“I think I could drive freely now, some corners it would work, but across the whole lap I’m not there, not fully at peace and at one with it.”
💪 @danielricciardo recovered from a Q1 exit to storm into the points at Portimao
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 4, 2021
Ricciardo scored his worst result so far this season last time out in Portugal, finishing in P9 after taking P6 in the first two rounds.
Given that he started down in P16 though, it was a decent performance, and he’s happy with what he learned about his machinery.
“I was obviously still with something to prove on Sunday so there was some of that, which I don’t mind having,” he said.
“And over the course of the race I certainly discovered some things with the car. There were moments I had really competitive lap times and moments where I made mistakes and I think I understood the times where I made mistakes and understood why.
“I was just so happy to race. Any time I have a bad qualifying, I wish the race could happen 30 minutes later, so yeah waiting 24 hours was long.”