Daniel Ricciardo has revealed to be 'surprised' by the struggles of McLaren at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
McLaren endured a torrid F1 season-opening weekend with Ricciardo exiting qualifying in the first phase and neither he nor team-mate Lando Norris posing any threat to the top 10 in Sunday's race.
After leaving the first running of pre-season in Spain in February, McLaren had been tipped to take the fight to Ferrari.
Although brake problems blighted the second test in Bahrain, P14 and 15 on Sunday was not the outcome Ricciardo expected he and Norris would open their 2022 accounts with.
Asked if he was surprised by the result, Ricciardo conceded: “It is.
"I’m always pretty reserved in testing and I know the reality of maybe getting to race one and things could look different, but I definitely did think that after Barcelona we would be in better shape.
“Maybe also this could just be a bogey track for us and maybe in a week’s time we will be looking better, but probably a bit more work to do.”
Ricciardo missed all three days of testing in Bahrain through illness before later returning a positive Covid test.
Assessing how his physical condition had impacted his performance, the Australian added: “I’d love to lie to you and say I feel awesome, but I certainly felt it.
"Even if I just take laying in bed, if I forget Covid and just say I’ve laid in bed for five days, that in itself was always going to make the weekend challenging and probably the addition of the feelings of Covid.
“Not the easiest race I’ve ever done physically but I still felt I was able to compete at a high enough level. Happy to get the race distance done and hopefully it gets easier from here.”