The seven-time grand prix winner has endured a difficult start to life at McLaren following his winter switch from Renault and has so far been comprehensively outperformed by teammate Lando Norris.

Ricciardo was over half a second slower than Norris in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix and went on to be lapped by the Briton in what he described as a “disastrous” weekend.

In a bid to better understand the complexities of McLaren’s MCL35M and his struggles in Monaco, Ricciardo has been putting the hours in on the simulator in-between races.

“I did spend a few good days on the sim last week,” Ricciardo said ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“I think [we took] a step back [to] understand what’s going on and, let’s say, how the car works and what needs to be done to get the car working well.

“I don’t want to say we started from zero, as we learned a bit in the first few races, but we had more of an open-minded approach and we just tried lots of different things, even things that don’t feel, let’s say, correct; we’ll try them and understand why that doesn’t work.

“We played around a lot, and certainly some things now do seem more clear to me and it was really productive to do that, and yeah, I’m looking forward to putting it in play on track.”

Ricciardo added: “It’s really trying to adapt my style to work better with the car, and I think sometimes I’ll do what I think is right and what has worked for the last few years, say, and it doesn’t quite well at the moment.

“And, then, that’s like ‘why doesn’t it?’ and it becomes frustrating and you question: ‘but it should work – so I think the last week especially I took a step back, didn’t completely restart, but started from a step behind and then built up.

“I think that helped me understand a lot better what the car is doing and what we’re trying to achieve with the car. It’s definitely more clear now and I’ve got to put that on the track and execute it.”

Ricciardo said after the race in Monaco that he was keen not to over analyse his struggles and added that it is very easy to “fall down that rabbit hole” when seeking answers to overcome setbacks.

“F1 is complex, you can, you fall down that little rabbit hole and it’s hard to pull yourself out,” he explained.

“I think my experience in the sport, I have pretty good self-awareness of that, and sometimes you can’t help go down that path as you also get emotional and emotion sometimes doesn’t lead to the clearest decision.

“But definitely aware of it. By Monday morning I was full steam ahead, ready to go, and that led to a productive couple of days in Woking.”

The Australian joked that he will allow people to get back on the ‘Ricciardo hype train’ once he finally understands the car and is able to deliver the kind of performances he expects.

“For sure I’d have loved to have it [a full understanding] now or a few races ago but that’s maybe where I lean on my experience in the sport and just know… I’ll use this expression… it’s a marathon not a sprint,” he said.

“Of course you want to be able to deliver every race but I know in whatever race time when it clicks and it becomes right people will all of a sudden be back on the Ricciardo train!

“So, if you jumped off, it’s okay, it’s still going to go forward, and there’s tickets still to be sold so it’s okay, I’ll let you back on!”