‘I’ve burnt out the camera on my laptop’
Daniel Ricciardo only became a McLaren driver on January 1 so it's been a jam-packed preparation for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.
The Australian had just three days of practice to familiarise himself with his new team - and a brand-new car - but behind the scenes has been putting in a mountain of work.
Stream Every Practice, Qualifier & Race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship™ Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
In an interview released by McLaren, Ricciardo said he was thrilled with the attention to detail the British outfit has shown while preparing him for the season ahead.
"From the start of January I've been provided with so much information and lots of homework to ensure that everything felt very familiar when I sat in the car for the first time," he said.
"It's definitely worked! I feel fully integrated in the team and not just from an engineering point of view, also the strategy and operational side of things, and even the marketing side."
"I think I've burnt out the camera on my laptop with the number of video calls I've had (with McLaren F1 Racing Director Andrea Stella). But every single call has been invaluable and there's been a real purpose to them.
"That's another thing that's really impressed me about the team: everyone is clearly a very hard worker, but there's no time wasting. It's not a case of working a 16-hour day and thinking it's awesome that you've put that many hours in, it's what you do in the time you spend working that matters - quality, not quantity."
Ricciardo's team had such a positive start to pre-season testing some suggested they played shadow games to hide their success.
The Aussie star's first season with McLaren got off to a red-hot start following an impressive opening two days at this month's official testing weekend in Bahrain.
However, the 31-year-old slipped down the time sheets on the final day of testing when rival teams pulled out their softest tyres and went on lightning runs.
Ricciardo said he was happy with the solid number of laps he was able to complete and his improved comfort with braking.
"If I think back to my time at Renault, the car was pretty different to the Red Bull when it came to braking - and braking was a real strength of the Red Bull," he said.
"I had to get used to that difference, but we also had to minimise it by changing the setup and trying to get closer to the feeling of the Red Bull. The McLaren is not in a bad place with the braking though, it's more a case of me getting used to the differences …
"By day three of testing I was in a better place with the braking and starting to feel pretty comfortable with it.
"It will only improve the more time I spend in the car. Don't get me wrong though, if I see a gap at the weekend, we're all good, I'm going for it."
Red Bull is expected to provide a stiffer challenge to Mercedes this season and Ricciardo is hoping McLaren can be next-best behind them.
"It would be great to hold on to third place in the Constructors' Championship," he said. "It's going to be just as hard as last year to do that, if not harder, so we're going to have to be on our A-game, but I feel like I have a lot of experience in the sport that can help the team to continue to move forward."
Originally published as 'I've burnt out the camera on my laptop'