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Formula One: Daniel Ricciardo tests positive to Covid-19 before 2022 season

Daniel Ricciardo’s preparations for the start of the Formula One season have suffered a setback after he tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to miss the final pre-season test.

After feeling unwell the Australian star was forced to sit out the first two days of the official pre-season test in Bahrain and his team McLaren confirmed in a statement on Saturday morning he had returned a positive PCR test.

But McLaren expected Ricciardo to be well enough to take part in next weekend’s opening race of the F1 season in Bahrain, saying he was already starting to feel better.

“McLaren racing can confirm that after feeling unwell from Wednesday onwards in Bahrain, Daniel Ricciardo has now returned a positive PCR test for COVID-19,” McLaren said.

“Daniel is therefore continuing to isolate in accordance with local regulations.

“Under these regulations Daniel will be released in time for next weekend’s Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

“Daniel is already beginning to feel better, and we wish him well for a quick recovery.”

Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris completed testing for McLaren on the opening two days and will remain in the car for the final day of the second pre-season test.

The timing is a blow for Ricciardo as he misses crucial testing time in the new car as F1 launches into new regulations for 2022.

Despite missing the final pre-season test, Ricciardo tried to look on the positive side of his Covid diagnosis in that it came before the season had started.

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
Camera IconRicciardo is in his second season with McLaren, finishing eighth in 2021. Credit: Getty/Supplied

“Better this week than next,” Ricciardo wrote on Instagram.

“Unfortunate to miss the test, but I’m starting to feel better. I’ll stay isolated and just focus on next weekend.

“Big thanks to Lando and McLaren for the heavy lifting, I owe you some beers (milk for Lando).

“Appreciate the well wishes from everyone as well.”

Ricciardo is entering his second season with McLaren, finishing eighth in the standings in his first year with the team in 2021.

His opening season with McLaren was highlighted by a stunning victory at Monza – his first Formula One win since he was with Red Bull in 2018.

Ricciardo showed encouraging form for McLaren during the opening pre-season test in Barcelona two weeks ago.

The opening Bahrain race starts on March 18 before the season then heads to Saudi Arabia and then the Australian Grand Prix from April 8-10.

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