Daniel Ricciardo is feeling fairly happy after qualifying sixth for the primary grand prix of the 12 months — and his first official race with McLaren.
The Aussie driver and his new F1 crew made a direct influence at pre-season testing because the 31-year-old racked up two of the quickest occasions on the opening two mornings, however the query is whether or not he can carry that tempo into the season correct.
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Ricciardo’s ex-Purple Bull teammate Max Verstappen stole the present by qualifying in pole place for Monday’s (AEDT) race, forward of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in an indication F1 could lastly be witnessing a shake-up of the established world order.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was fourth quickest forward of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, whereas Ricciardo slotted in at sixth, one spot forward of his new stablemate Lando Norris.
The Honey Badger was blissful together with his first qualifying hit-out of the 12 months and is optimistic it bodes effectively for the principle occasion.
“It’s a pleasing aid to get the primary quali out of the best way and get a good outcome,” Ricciardo mentioned. “I feel, after the take a look at, I used to be pretty comfy within the automotive however most likely extra so on lengthy runs.
“I nonetheless felt that, if something, my (qualifying on) Saturdays had been going to want bettering — and I feel they nonetheless do — however I actually made a pleasant step from a few weeks in the past and I’m blissful.
“We’ve bought platform to construct on now, I’m actually pleased with how we approached it as a crew, not placing an excessive amount of stress on me. We had been a bit off the tempo yesterday (in apply), however they may see I used to be simply making an attempt to determine it out.
“I don’t need to do somersaults or backflips simply but, however it’s actually a pleasant begin for the marketing campaign and I feel we’ll do alright tomorrow.
“There’s a mixture of vehicles round us, so I’m trying ahead to that, and with Lando alongside hopefully we will get some huge factors for the crew and begin the 12 months proper.”
Pipping Norris by one place means Ricciardo has maintained his scorching streak of by no means being out-qualified by a teammate in Bahrain.
The Honey Badger mentioned there may be nonetheless room for enchancment, however he isn’t getting too grasping, understanding he nonetheless wants time to regulate to life at McLaren after bailing from a two-season stint at Renault.
“As skilled as I’m in F1, the reality is new automotive is a brand new automotive,” he mentioned. “I realised fairly rapidly that you could get to that 95 per cent, however discovering that final 5 per cent (from the automotive) goes to take time.
“I’d not say my lap was phenomenal, however allow us to say for the primary qualifying with a brand new crew I’m truly actually pleased with the progress.
“I used to be fairly sluggish in Flip 11 many of the session, so I feel that was the nook. However it’s most likely greater than precise corners, it’s having that confidence within the automotive that’s going to stay, it’s going to grip and all of that.”