Daniel Ricciardo has revealed what it was like to race having only just overcome the COVID-19 virus.
The Australian missed out on the entirety of the pre-season test in Bahrain after testing positive for the virus, and was only confirmed as being fit and ready to return in the days leading up to the season opener at the same venue last Sunday.
It turned out to be a race to forget for Ricciardo, with he and McLaren toiling away in the lower midfield. He eventually finished the race in 14th, having never been in contention for a points finish.
With some drivers, like Red Bull's Sergio Perez and Aston Martin's Lance Stroll, recently saying that drivers should be permitted to race if they feel sufficiently healthy, given the ability for them to remain isolated from others, Ricciardo was asked how he felt physically after the race.
"I'd love to lie and say I feel awesome," he told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"But yeah, I certainly felt it. Even if I just take laying in bed - forget COVID and just say I laid in bed for five days - that in itself was always gonna make the weekend challenging and then, in addition, the feelings of COVID.
"[It was] not the easiest race I've ever done physically, but I still felt like I was able to compete at a high enough level. [I'm] happy to get the race distance done and hopefully it gets easier from here."
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Did COVID have any bearing on his final result?
With Ricciardo having missed the second pre-season test, his preparations for the campaign took an obvious hit. But, despite this, he felt that his final result wouldn't have changed, even if he hadn't contracted the virus and taken part in the test.
"I have to take Lando [Norris] as a reference," he said of his teammate.
"Obviously, he showed he's a very good reference from last year, and I looked at his lap in Q2 yesterday and it was only good enough for 13th, but the lap looked pretty good. I think, at least at this track, that was a true indication of our pace.
"If I did testing and this and that, I'd love to say maybe I could have found more time, but I think he did a decent lap yesterday, so there's not half a second sitting in the car at the moment."
As for whether the car is simply not a points-scoring machine, Ricciardo gave a blunt response.
"At the moment, no, but maybe we go to another track and, all of a sudden, it makes the car look a little better," he added.
"But yeah, points were not on the cards this weekend, even with the test last week."
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