F1 Raceweek: Ricciardo rested and ready to respond
Daniel Ricciardo admitted to being "drained" after making his Renault debut at his home Australian Grand Prix, but he heads to Bahrain rejuvenated.
The 29-year-old retired in Melbourne to mark a dismal start to life with Renault, where expectation is on the former Red Bull man to pull the midfield outfit into contention.
Ricciardo said afterwards that his efforts "trying to please everyone" in Australia had left him exhausted, but he has the opportunity to move on this weekend at the second race of the Formula One season.
Well rested since the campaign opener, Ricciardo is confident he can deliver an improved result in Bahrain.
"I'm keen to put Australia to one side," he said. "It was a pretty frustrating weekend overall, even more so as the pace was clearly there for a good result.
20 to go. Would love a perfect 21 but will aim for a perfect 20. It’s all good.— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) March 17, 2019
"In qualifying, I personally felt I left something out there, which meant our starting spot wasn't ideal. There's not too much to say about the race.
"I quite like the circuit in Bahrain and I hope for an improved weekend. I've had a bit of rest and recovery between these two race weekends, so I head there feeling recharged."
TALK OF THE PADDOCK
While the pressure builds on Ricciardo, the same will be true of Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel if they lag behind Mercedes again this week.
Vettel had won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in each of the past two seasons, before triumphing in Bahrain (third on the calendar in 2017) on both occasions, but that has not been enough to stay with Lewis Hamilton in the title fight.
With Mercedes enjoying a one-two in Melbourne as Ferrari failed to get a driver on the podium, there might already be concerns in the Scuderia fanbase that this could be a wasted season.
Ferrari came into the season on a high after impressing in testing, though, and Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff expects a response.
"The fight has only just begun," he said. "Ferrari will try everything they can to hit back and Melbourne showed that Red Bull will have something to say in the fight, too.
"We've seen the potential of Ferrari's package in Barcelona, so we expect them to come back strong in Bahrain, with Red Bull in the mix as well."
No F1 driver has won more races in Asia (27), the Arabian Peninsula (seven) or Bahrain (four) than Ferrari's Vettel.
2018: Sebastian Vettel
2017: Sebastian Vettel
2016: Nico Rosberg