F1 2022: Daniel Ricciardo Bahrain Grand Prix result, McLaren news, treated race like testing

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed what was really going on as his season-opening Grand Prix fell apart in spectacular fashion.

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed he treated the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix like a test session as his McLaren team flopped hard.

The Australian had a nightmare in Bahrain after missing the final testing event of the season and contracting Covid.

However, there was no excuses for his team’s failure to unlock the speed of its MCL36 because as Ricciardo finished the race a lowly 14th — one spot ahead of teammate Lando Norris.

The 32-year-old cut a forlorn figure after the race as the dust settled oh his team’s wake up call.

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It is an awful sign for a team desperate to improve on its fourth-placed finish in last season’s constructors’ championship.

The signs were there if you were looking hard enough.

He qualified 18th on the grid and early in the grand prix he slipped back to be running dead last of all 20 cars. While he managed to move up a few places in the final standings, there was still no reason to smile.

He has now admitted what was really going on as he treated the race like a “test” to get some miles in the car in a race situation.

It shows how far the team is behind everyone else on the grid.

“It was definitely tricky,” he said.

“I think as well, there is a lot to try and understand. I knew there would be.

“It is the first race distance I have done this year and trying all compounds in the race, I think it was trying to treat it like a test session as well, trying to learn as much as I could each lap.

“Obviously, we are lacking some pace. I think it is general, I don’t think it is necessarily just one area. We lack a little bit of downforce and that is really the key.”

Team principal Andreas Seidl confirmed after the race his team is struggling for grip and is also balancing a headache with its brake ducts that is yet to be figured out.

Ricciardo confirmed the problems after the race.

“I’m glad we got the race distance in, especially for me, it’s really the first race distance I’ve done,” he said.

“So just to learn the car more, feedback to the team, I tried every [tyre] compound as well during the race – just some interesting things to feel and also some places where I thought the car was good.

“Overall, obviously we still have a few more weaknesses than strengths.”

Teammate Norris also said after the race the team is “a long, long way off”.

“We just haven’t got it right at the minute,” he said.

“Not just a little bit, we’re a long way. We’ve got to start fresh and figure some things out.

“I’m just trying to find solutions, and solutions doesn’t mean next week we’re going to be amazing.

“But in months to come we need to understand what’s going on here and how to get better.”

Ricciardo struggled massively last year, constantly being outperformed by Norris as he struggled to adjust to a new car in his debut season in papaya. But with both drivers performing so poorly in Bahrain, McLaren has huge questions to answer as teething issues can no longer be used as an excuse.

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