Daniel Ricciardo admits he’s “excited” to see where McLaren truly is in the Formula 1 pecking order at this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

McLaren enjoyed its strongest pre-season testing campaign in some years in Bahrain with many pundits predicting it to finish third once again in the constructors’ championship.

The switch from Renault power to Mercedes seems to have been seamless for the Woking-based outfit, with Lando Norris describing it as a ‘smooth operation’.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race in Bahrain, Ricciardo feels he’s already comfortable in McLaren colours having made the move from Renault over the winter.

“I’m excited. I am definitely excited,” Ricciardo said. “Confidence I have never been too shy of. Of course you can talk about it, but the nonsense stops, there is normally another word for that, but the nonsense stops on track.

“For sure this weekend is the first sign to really see where I am, where the team is, and where everyone else is. And where we stand. I feel that the preparation has been key. Obviously it is a new team for me, a new environment, but I feel comfortable and feel like we got up to speed pretty well a couple weeks ago. So ready to get down to it now.”

Ricciardo is confident McLaren has retained its spot as the third fastest team behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

“This year it is maybe a little easier to predict or understand the pecking order because the cars are more or less an evolution of last year’s cars, Ricciardo added. “Nothing is guaranteed, but I think you have an idea who the cars to chase are, and kind of where you stand. Answering this question in 12 months’ time will probably be a very different story or potentially a very different answer.

“We were all concerned that we only had three days, actually three  half days per driver, but one reliability is working and everything is running smooth then it was enough time to get comfortable. I’m sure I will continue to get better the more I drive the car and get familiar with the team.

“But I certainly feel like I’m in a good place to start the season. As for an expectation of where the team is, we have to really fight for and know that we are in that top three where the team were last year.”

 

 

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