The Bahrain GP has seen McLaren come away with a double point’s finish. With the MCL35M the third quickest car on the day, according to Team Principal Andreas Seidl.
With Ricciardo starting from P6 on the grid and Norris at P7, excitement built around the pairs opening lap. Who would get the upper hand? Would they tussle, or play it cool? Would we see a repeat of former Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen?
McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl reportedly reminded the duo they were on the same team, and he did not want to see an opening lap fiasco. Ricciardo and Norris did play nice. With some close but respectful racing.
Lights out for their first ever lap as F1 team mates 🚦
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 29, 2021
In what was a strong all-round performance from Norris, the young McLaren driver quickly moved through the field, going on to finish P4. His level of aggressiveness also seems to have been taken up another notch again this season. Putting on some great offensive and defensive moves.
“Very happy. A good result not just for myself but for us as a team,” Norris said. “A good amount of points for this first weekend, I stayed out of trouble and I’m very happy. It’s encouraging that we were able to fight with pure pace. It’s a good start – big thanks to the team here and everyone back at the MTC.”
Ricciardo not impressed with Bahrain GP performance
Although his younger teammate got the better of him on the day, overall, Ricciardo ran a reasonable race. Pushing against Norris during the early stages, Ricciardo slowly dropped back, finishing 20 seconds behind his teammate.
However, with a new car and power unit to get comfortable with, it is only natural for him to take a few grand prix to get fully accustomed to the MCL35M. And, a result of P7 in his first outing for McLaren is nothing to scoff at.
But, while Ricciardo was happy with the overall performance of the team, he wasn’t that impressed with his own race.
“First one down! Overall it’s been a good weekend,” Ricciardo said, “We can’t complain with that result. From the team’s perspective as well it’s good to hit the road with fourth and seventh.
“I think there’s plenty to learn from. I wasn’t that impressed with my race. We couldn’t find the pace, so every time I tried to get a bit more out of it, it wasn’t really there – but I think there’s plenty to take from the race, plenty to learn from.
“If what I felt was an okay race ended with a P7, we’re looking alright. We’ll take the positives and learn from the data. Overall, a good weekend for the whole team, and a good first race for McLaren.”
Is the MCL35M the third quickest car?
According to Seidl, the MCL35M was the third quickest car at the Bahrain GP. Which ultimately helped the team score some good points, with McLaren currently third in the Constructors’ Championship.
Sitting behind the two front-runners of Mercedes and Red Bull, McLaren’s main competition seemed to come from Ferrari, in the form of Charles Leclerc. The Scuderia look to have vastly improved their car over the 2020 version, with both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz also finishing in the points.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 29, 2021
Whether or not the MCL35M is truly the third fastest car on the grid is yet to be seen. However, after one round of the F1 championship, it’s looking like McLaren have some pace on their side.
Seidl couldn’t have been happier with Sunday’s result, as the team opened up a clear margin against their midfield competitors.
“We’ve had a great start this weekend to the 2021 season,” Seidl said. “Today the team executed the race very well, while Lando and Daniel drove strong races to bring us home in P4 and P7. It gives us good points in a Constructors’ Championship that looks already very, very tight.
“We had the third-quickest car today, but we acknowledge there’s going to be a tense battle for that spot this year. We leave Bahrain committed as ever to working hard, improving our car and ensuring we’re still as competitive at the final race as we were at the first.”