Daniel Ricciardo says he hopes something was amiss with his McLaren MCL35 after a tough Spanish Grand Prix in which he finished 12th.
Despite starting inside the top ten, Ricciardo fell backwards during the race and had a downbeat assessment of his Sunday in Barcelona.
"One of the longer [afternoons] I've had in recent times," Ricciardo told media including RacingNews365.com.
"It was a slow race from the start, one where I basically couldn't use any grip, and if I tried to use it, I was just sliding and slow and trying to be conservative on the tyres, and I just had to drive too slow to do that.
"I got up to eighth on Lap 1, so we were in a relatively good position. But already, I think from Lap 3, I knew that I was going to be doing some defending pretty soon.
"But then, of course, we knew it was two or three stops, I thought, 'Okay, maybe we'll pit, get a bit more pace on a different set of tyres', but we were kind of nowhere from start to the end."
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Ricciardo 'scratching his head' after Barcelona
Having finished in the points only once across a full race distance in 2022, Ricciardo has just 11 points to teammate Lando Norris' 39, and McLaren CEO Zak Brown said after the race that Ricciardo had fallen short of expectations since joining the team from Renault in 2021.
The Australian was at loss as to his lack of pace in Barcelona, and admitted afterwards that he hoped a fundamental car problem might be discovered that would explain his lacklustre performance.
"There's always little bits here and there [to improve upon], but to be honest, I hope to find something else," said Ricciardo.
"I hope that it's, 'oh, wow, this was wrong', because when it's setup, you could say, 'oh, there's a couple of tenths'.
"I haven't seen the times yet, but I know that it's all just slow, really.
"I'm sure, at times, it was probably a second, if not more, slower, so this felt more than setup, so hopefully there's something, because throughout the race, [I tried] different things, but the net lap time was the same each time I crossed the line, so one of those ones where you're just kind of scratching your head."
F1 Podcast: Did off-track matters ruin the spectacle at the Spanish GP?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the Spanish Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen won a thrilling race after Charles Leclerc retired. But was the on-track action soured by a poor fan experience at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya?