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Ricciardo free to race in Bahrain F1 opener after negative COVID-19 test | F1

Ricciardo was ruled out of the opening two days of the Bahrain test after feeling unwell.

At the end of day two, McLaren announced that Ricciardo had tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to miss the final day of running as well.

The Australian has been isolating in Bahrain but after testing negative, he is able to return to the F1 paddock on Thursday ahead of the start of the season. 

A statement from McLaren read: “McLaren F1 Team confirms that after testing positive for Covid-19 during last week, Daniel has now returned a number of negative tests and will therefore return to the paddock on Thursday ready to compete in this weekend’s Bahrain GP,” an update from the team reads.

“Daniel has been feeling better each day as he continued to recover while in isolation following local regulations in Bahrain.”

Ricciardo’s absence from testing meant that Lando Norris was in action for the team across the three days.

It does mean that Ricciardo hasn’t driven the MCL36 car since the Barcelona test at the end of February, putting him on the backfoot given that the other 19 drivers have enjoyed considerable track time at Sakhir.

McLaren endured a tricky second test due to a recurring front brake issue which curtailed its running. 

When the car has been running well, McLaren has often shown strong pace and came away from the first test in Barcelona as one of the teams to beat alongside Ferrari. 

The 2022 F1 season kicks off at the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend from March 18-20.

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