Daniel Ricciardo has insisted that he's not down-hearted by the poor start to the 2019 season since he moved from Red Bull to Renault over the winter.
The Australian has finished in the points only once so far in the first five races of the year when he was seventh in Shanghai.
But he retired with car damage in the season opener in Melbourne, and suffered a power unit failure in Bahrain. A clumsy incident in which he reversed into a Toro Rosso then put him out of action in Baku which left him with a three-place grid penalty for Spain where he finished the race in 12th place.
“I knew that we were not going to start off competing for podiums straight away," Ricciardo insisted this week. "I expected a struggle somewhat, and expected work needed to be done.
"A few people have been, like: 'Sorry it is not really going as well for you as you probably hoped.' Not in a negative way. But I did expect this."
While some of the mishaps have been down to the driver, the fact that his Renault team mate Nico Hulkenberg has also finished in the top ten just once so far in 2019 shows that the problems at Enstone are by no means just a case of Ricciardo still settling in.
“More personally I’ve felt happy when I’ve made mistakes," Ricciardo admitted. "More from myside - I have not always been that happy with myself.
"Where the team stands, I wish we were quicker. But I still see a lot of areas where we can keep improving.
“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.
“But hand on heart personally I’ve been really good, and I still feel really comfortable and happy where I am."
Ricciardo explained that he and the team were engaged in a long-term project to win the world championship, and that such things took time.
Renault has already reshuffled internal management team in preparation for tackling new F1 technical regulations for 2021.
“I’m aware of some changes that are happening,” Ricciardo confirmed. “The big picture is looking ahead to 2021.
"But these things they are putting into place now, or at some point this year, are going to help for 2020 as well," he said. "For me that is encouraging and for now I don’t need to know the details.
“The thing I say from day one when I joined the team was that they are pushing and exploring every avenue they can.
"For now I am seeing that they are trying to evolve as a team and that is cool for me to see. They are in it for the long haul.
“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.
"Also it is definitely too early in the season for me to be discouraged!"
Next weekend sees Ricciardo return to Monaco, the scene of his most recent F1 victory when he won the 2018 with his former team Red Bull.
While a repeat success appears highly unlikely, Monaco is certainly one of those venues where the impossible can quickly become a startling reality.