After an impressive weekend in Bahrain, McLaren newcomer Daniel Ricciardo will race alongside Lando Norris once again this weekend at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The pair finished out the first race of the season, at the Bahrain International Circuit, with Lando in P4 and Daniel in P7.
Imola’s recent return means Lando and Daniel have only raced here once in an F1 car.
Daniel qualified fifth last year and then went on to bag a podium, while Lando has never finished outside the points for McLaren when racing in Italy – he has a fourth and 10th place to his name at Monza, a sixth at Mugello, and eighth at Imola.
Of the 28 Grand Prix held at Imola, McLaren has contested 27 of them and featured on the podium 19 times – six of them victories.
Speaking ahead of R2 at Imola, Lando Norris said track position will be the most important thing this weekend, on a circuit with limited chances for overtaking.
He said: “We’ve started the season with a good team result in Bahrain. Our aim is to keep progressing and maximising performance at each race.
“There are still areas we need to work on to try and unlock that extra bit of potential that can make us more competitive, but we’re pushing hard to make those steps.
“The first race really showed how strong the competition is this year, which is going to make for some exciting on-track battles that I’m looking forward to.
“It’s great to be back at Imola again this season. As always, we’ll be aiming to maximise the time on-track to get the most out of the car in preparation for qualifying and the race.
“Track position is important in Imola with limited chances for overtakes. Turn One will be the best opportunity to make a pass, and it could be tricky elsewhere with the track being so narrow.
“We’ll be pushing to make the most of the weekend and score some good points.”
Daniel, who finished on the podium at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in 2020, will be hoping to repeat history, gaining some vital points for the Woking-based team.
He said: “I’m looking forward to getting back in the car after a positive start in Bahrain. We secured a good result in that first race, and it felt amazing to make my debut for the team.
“I was a bit unfortunate with the damage we found on the car after the race, and there’s still a few more things to learn and get to grips with which takes a bit of time.
“But given that, I’m confident we’ve got a lot more performance left to unlock.
“We’ve been working hard back at the factory to understand how we can build on that solid start.
“I completely expected it to take a few races to feel comfortable in the car, but I’m feeling better after race one than I had done at the same point in previous years, so that’s really promising.
“Imola’s up next and we’re going to give it plenty. It’s an iconic old-school track with a fast and flowing layout that provides little room for error.
“I’m really excited to be heading back there after last year’s race where I finished on the podium.
“I’m definitely planning on bringing that experience from last year to help the team this weekend and fight for those points.”
Lights out at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is this Sunday at 2:00 pm.