McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo says his testing went “pretty smooth” despite the challenge of adapting to his new team.

Ricciardo competed 173 of McLaren’s 327 laps in pre-season testing at Bahrain, eclipsing his teammate’s total of 154 as the team sought to give the former time in the cockpit as he attempts to get acclimated to their MCL35M. Some of the Australian’s running was spoiled by wind and sand, but he nonetheless considered his trip to Bahrain a success.

Ricciardo was also appreciative of the opportunity to get back out on track after the off-season. “Everything went pretty smooth,” he said to media including “So that’s always nice to see your name up the top but really the testing, it’s just about reliability and make sure that everything runs.

“It’s just nice to get back into work. It’s definitely, warm, windy and pretty sandy out there so the track was tricky to navigate. But it’s just a good feeling being back on track for sure,” Ricciardo shared. He adds that the greatest difference between his McLaren and last year’s Renault is the braking, which he had to adapt to early on in testing.

Ricciardo says that braking is something which often requires particular attention when a driver is switching teams as he has twice in the last three years. “It is certainly different again,” he started. “So I am still probably adapting or adjusting to that.

“I think going from Red Bull to Renault and Renault to McLaren, probably the braking is maybe the biggest thing. I’m still trying to get on top of it and understand where the limit is of the car. I think generally, like in the past couple years, it looks like they’ve had a pretty good car on braking.

“Once I’m up to speed should be a pretty good one and hopefully you’ll see some good passes from me again,” Ricciardo teased. Going deep about the brakes further, the Australian talked about it in terms of mechanical feeling or brake-by-wire side.

“I think there’s a lot of variables with obviously changing team, but as you say the tyres and then the floor,” started Ricciardo. “So it’s, it’s hard to say like, what’s this or that, but I have seen a few more cars sliding, for sure. I do think, I’m not sure we’re quite there with the rear grip yet.

“So I think most people are probably still suffering some losses, with the floor change. And with the braking. It’s more probably just a mechanical feeling. I think, even things like, the new cars, new pedals and positioning, so it’s probably more just a feel on that physically than anything else for now,” summed up Ricciardo.

The Australian took time to adapt to the braking of Renault’s cars in 2019 and 2020, only demonstrating his spirited overtaking later into his tenure with the team. In 2021, he will likely need the opportunity to get acclimated to the McLaren as he did the Renault.

Here’s Andreas Seidl on using Mercedes reserves