Daniel Ricciardo has admitted that his McLaren team still have a lot to learn about their new car after qualifying 18th for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Australian was left confessing his disappointment after failing to get out of Q1 on qualifying day, despite teammate Lando Norris advancing comfortably into Q2.
Ultimately, Norris would only place 13th by the end of the session, capping off a poor day for the Woking-based team, which carried so much promise after a fine start to testing in Barcelona.
For Ricciardo, his start to the 2022 season has proved challenging, having missed the entire pre-season test in Bahrain after testing positive for Covid-19.
Ricciardo still playing catch-up after missing Bahrain test
That has left both him and his team with so much to do in their fight to become competitive in 2022, and they are starting the season on the back foot.
"I think that P18 shows that it was definitely tricky," Ricciardo told Sky Sports following a disappointing session.
"It's a culmination of missing the test and then missing the track time in FP2 a little bit. It's been an uphill battle. I'm disappointed but not too surprised.
"We just have to try and move up from here. I think everyone has a lot to learn with this car and everyone will be working together now to fast track that."
Viewed by others:
Barcelona promise has dissolved for McLaren
Norris was answering questions on the potential of fighting at the front of the grid with McLaren during testing in Barcelona, but ever since arriving in Bahrain, the team have slid down the order.
Struggling for pace, even with the track cooling during evening sessions, they will now be considered outsiders to score points in Sunday evening's race.
"After Barcelona, I had a pretty good feeling with the car," Ricciardo went on to comment.
"I think we felt we were quite comfortable with where it was at. Sure, there were still things to improve, but it seemed - let's say - familiar.
"But then, coming [to Bahrain] in different conditions, and a different style of circuit, it threw a few more challenges at us and that took time to figure out, and we're still not there."
F1 Podcast: Previewing the 2022 Formula 1 season
Ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher preview the 2022 season.