Daniel Ricciardo insists he has not been surprised by the low-key start to his tenure with Renault, having taken just one points finish from the opening five grands prix.
Ricciardo spent five years with Red Bull, winning seven races during that spell, and twice finished as the highest-placed non-Mercedes driver in the championship standings.
Ricciardo joined Renault for 2019 but his seventh place in China remains his only top 10 result of the campaign amid the team’s performance and reliability struggles.
“A few people have been like sorry it is not really going as well for you as you probably hoped,” he said.
“Not in a negative way, but I did expect this. I knew that we were not going to start off competing for podiums straight away. So I expected a struggle somewhat.
“And I expected work needed to be done.
“Where the team stands, I wish we were quicker but I still see a lot of areas where we can keep improving. So I’m still very optimistic that we can still hit the trajectory we were hoping for.
“We might be a bit behind it for now, but I am not discouraged at all.
“Also it is definitely too early in the season for me to be discouraged.
“Just for the whole morale of the team it is important to address issues that need addressing but you still need to remain positive and confident and optimistic, otherwise…it is just managing everyone's motivation.
“But hand on heart personally I’ve been really good, and I still feel really comfortable and happy where I am. So I’m just excited to see some progress.”
Ricciardo added that, along with his own adaption period, Renault is still striving to understand its R.S.19.
“Speaking to Nico [Hulkenberg], there are some differences in the car this year to last year,” he said.
“And even from the whole understanding point of view from the whole team, we are still learning.
“It is not like just an evolution of last year.
“Some characteristics are different which is taking a bit of time for us to still get on top of. But I’m pretty confident that we are better than what we’ve shown so far.”