The Australian driver has had a few teething troubles so far this year – to be expected in joining a new team – and one such problem reared its head on Saturday as he fell out of qualifying at the first stage.
Indeed, that left him with a lot of work to on Sunday in Portimao but he did an admirable job as he rose up to ninth place to secure a points finish, though he’ll naturally want to be further up the pack in races to come alongside team-mate Lando Norris who has had a wonderful start to the campaign.
Certainly, last Saturday left Ricciardo with a lot of work to do and he admits that he found it tough to process as it went so wrong for him on the day:
“Deep down that’s why it [qualifying] is so frustrating because you know it doesn’t ruin your weekend, but it certainly changes your weekend,” Ricciardo said.
“That’s why qualifying in this sport, we hold Saturday to such high regard, and when you don’t get it right it eats inside you.
“I have a lot of belief in myself and confidence, and when I don’t perform to what I believe I’m capable of, it breaks me inside, and obviously, I hate that.
“We don’t get these chances all the time. We get 20-something races a year, so we’re not able to do this every day. Even waiting a week to get another chance, it hurts.”
Even so, as Ricciardo has hinted at, he has only had to wait a week for another chance as round four takes place in Spain this weekend.
Indeed, he’s hopeful of an improved level of performance at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
in the coming days:
“After three races it [the car] is a bit trickier than I probably expected but in saying that, in doing another race, there were a lot of things I understood in the car,” the Aussie added.
“[There are] Some updates that will help in pure set up, and there are some things we can be doing better to help or suit me, and we’ll try that in Barcelona.
“I think it will be a bit easier there, maybe more like Bahrain where I was able to get up to speed a bit quicker, and it’s a track I’m familiar with.
“I’m not going to expect anything but I hope it should be a bit easier and I can show some true speed.”
The McLaren package certainly looks strong and he’ll be positive enough about that, knowing that once he gets things fully hooked up he should be regularly challenging for top-six finishes at the very least.