The Australian is still trying to get fully comfortable at McLaren following his winter switch from Renault and a shortened pre-season test after enduring a difficult opening three races to the year.

While Ricciardo has recorded three points finishes, he is yet to join his teammate Lando Norris - who finished on the podium at Imola - inside the top five so far this season.

Ricciardo suffered a shock elimination in Q1 at last weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix but recovered strongly to ninth in the race to maintain McLaren’s steak of double points finishes.

“After three races I would say it is still a bit trickier than I expected,” Ricciardo admitted after the race in Portugal. “But in saying that, doing another race, there were a lot of things I understood in the car.

“That when I wanted to maybe push a little bit more and where I couldn’t. What I need to get that feeling and confidence. For sure some updates will help.

“But in pure set up there are some things that we can be doing better to maybe help or suit me. We will try that in Barcelona.”

Ricciardo revealed a tweak to his driving style that he had tried out in the simulator enabled him to unlock some more performance at Portimao and he hopes some set-up experiments could further aid his bid to get fully on top of the car’s characteristics while he waits for updates.

“There certainly were moments in the race where I took some confidence, and there were some flashes of good speed and good pace and management,” Ricciardo explained.

“But there are also mistakes, and let us say more notes to feedback on. I feel like today I made a step forward in understanding a bit more what I want in the car. I feel like a lot of the mistakes came through the same thing or the same limitation.

“I do not think that means waiting for an update, I believe there will be something on the car where we could just change the setup to help the areas where I’m struggling.

"So maybe some things we can try and Barcelona. I am actually optimistic that just through set up can help my cause a little bit while we wait for some updates.”

In the meantime, Ricciardo is hoping that familiarity with Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya will help him get on the pace much faster at the Spanish GP.

“Barcelona will be a bit easier, maybe more like Bahrain where I was able to get up to speed a bit quicker,” he added.

“It is a track that we are familiar with. Let’s say I’m not going to expect anything, but I hope it should be a bit easier and I can show some true speed.”

 

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