Daniel Ricciardo said he hopes McLaren's disappointing showing at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix is "just a speedbump" as he and the Woking-based squad look to get back to competitiveness.
Despite having topped the timesheets during Formula 1's first three-day pre-season test at Barcelona, McLaren struggled badly with braking issues once the circus arrived in Bahrain for the second test.
To make matters worse for Ricciardo, the Australian had to miss all three days of the Sakhir test after testing positive for COVID-19, and was only confirmed ready to return in the days leading up to the season opener at the same venue last Sunday.
"It is what it is," Ricciardo said of his enforced absence.
"Obviously, I missed a bit, but I don't want it to be the reason why the first half of the season is tricky.
"But I think, once we get to Saudi next week, we'll start with a clean slate and then hopefully be in a better position."
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Bahrain blues for Ricciardo and McLaren
The Bahrain Grand Prix turned out to be a race to forget for Ricciardo and teammate Lando Norris, as McLaren's testing woes continued into the race weekend, leaving the duo toiling away in the lower midfield.
Ricciardo eventually finished 14th, having never been in contention for a points finish, but he was quick to play down the severity of McLaren's current woes.
"It's tricky, but I think it's true for everyone. No car is planted," said Ricciardo.
"I think we're just operating at a little bit lower grip than the front row cars, but I think everyone's fighting, and we're just trying to extract that little bit more grip and comfort in the car.
"But it's still such early days, and I think we're all still trying to discover how the cars work and how they want to be set up.
"Hopefully this isn't the trend over the next few races, and [instead] is just a little speed bump in a long season."
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