Ricciardo could only manage 14th fastest in the morning session, 0.8s off McLaren teammate Lando Norris.

He fared better in the afternoon, in terms of pure lap time, ending it just a tenth off Norris, albeit in 15th place.

The Australian has struggled for outright pace since joining the Woking-based outfit for this season and Ricciardo feels he’s lacking the most confidence in the high-speed corners.

“I think it’s still being confident in what I have, and when I say what I have, I mean the car underneath me, to kind of commit and attack the corners, if you know what I mean,” Ricciardo said after Friday practice in Bahrain. “Essentially all the high-speed stuff you kind of turn-in and at the end of the day – obviously there’s a lot of technique but it’s also about trusting the car and turning in and knowing it’s going to stick.

“I think the sensation is still a little bit different, and that’s probably taking a little bit of that trust away from me at the moment. But saying that, certainly some of the reasons this morning, this afternoon, it certainly got better.

“I think there’s a bit of that, and then ultimately just a bit with set-up. I think Lando in the debriefs complains about the same things, or the weaknesses are the same things, but I think he’s just a bit more used to this car doing that, and he’s able to probably drive through it a bit better. But we’re still ultimately trying to get that area improved.”

McLaren has introduced a new front wing and floor for this weekend’s race in Barcelona.

Assessing the new upgrades, teammate Norris says McLaren needs to analyse them after going backwards in terms of performance between FP1 and FP2.

“Definitely just some things to improve in the balance side anyway, a bit of understanding why we think we were better this morning than this afternoon with the temperature as well,” Norris added.

“So still different things, still the fourth race of the season, the fourth track of the season, so still exploring different characteristics, different tarmacs and stuff like that, so still new things, learning, but tomorrow’s the important day, and that’s when we’ve got to put it all together.”

 

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