Daniel Ricciardo’s problems in the Bahrain Grand Prix went beyond the problems with his MCL36; the McLaren driver was also physically affected by his episode with Covid.
During F1’s final week of testing in Bahrain, Ricciardo tested positive for the coronavirus, preventing him from driving and forcing him into a week of isolation.
As a result, the Australian was less prepared than teammate Lando Norris for his first race weekend of 2022, and the McLaren driver revealed that he was not in peak physical condition as he approached the 57-lap event at Sakhir.
“I’d love to lie and say I feel awesome,” he said after the race. “But yeah, I certainly felt it.
“Even if I just take lying in bed forget COVID and just say I laid in bed for five days, that in itself was always going to make the weekend challenging and then, in addition, the feelings of COVID.”
“Not the easiest race I’ve ever done physically, but I still felt like I was able to compete at a high enough level.”
“Happy to get the race distance done and hopefully it gets easier from here.”
In Bahrain, Ricciardo’s physical issues were likely the least of his worries, as McLaren’s MCL36 was well off the pace, forcing its drivers to spend the evening battling in the lower rung of F1’s midfield.
Even without his lack of preparation or physical challenges, last year’s Italian Grand Prix winner believed he wouldn’t have finished any higher than P14 in Sunday’s race, with Norris close behind in P15.
“I have to take Lando as a reference,” he said. “Obviously, he showed he’s a very good reference from last year, and I looked at his lap in Q2 yesterday and it was only good enough for 13th, but the lap looked pretty good.
“I think, at least at this track, that was a true indication of our pace.
“If I did testing and this and that, I’d love to say maybe I could have found more time, but I think he did a decent lap yesterday, so there’s not half a second sitting in the car at the moment.”