McLaren heading into ‘promising’ season after successful pre-season testing
"I’ve had some good performances there during my career and it’s a track I’ve become very familiar with."
After an impressive weekend in and out of the top spot on the timesheets at pre-season testing in Bahrain, McLaren has a promising season ahead in the hands of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
Having clocked 327 laps between Ricciardo and Norris during pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, both drivers are heading into the first race knowing the track well.
Lando’s fourth-place finish at this race last year, followed by 10th at the Sakhir Grand Prix, means he’s on a run of six consecutive top-10 finishes in Bahrain, stretching all the way back to his F2 feature race win in 2018.
Daniel has racked up a fair few top-10 finishes of his own here, five in total – six if you include last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix – with a number of fourth places representing his best result in Bahrain to date.
“It’s time to go racing again and I’m really excited to be jumping back into the MCL35M and getting out on the track.
“We were only out in Bahrain a couple of weeks ago for pre-season testing and looking further back it was only a few months ago since we raced there, so I’m looking forward to doing it again.
“I’ve had some good performances there during my career and it’s a track I’ve become very familiar with.
“Even though we only had a few days to test, during those days and in the lead-up to this weekend we’ve been able to learn a decent amount about the car and do some correlation work in the simulator, which has been helpful.
“Of course, there’s still more we can understand to extract every final bit of performance, which we’ll need.
“I feel confident and ready to enter my third year in Formula 1. My aim is to keep building on my previous experience and help the team progress as much as possible.
“I know how hard everyone in the team has been working, both day and night, to get us prepared to go racing again and I can’t thank them enough.
“We’ve got a long and challenging season ahead but hopefully we can get off on the right foot.”
“I’m really excited for the start of the season. It’s the beginning of a new chapter, my first race in papaya and I can’t wait to get started.
“It’s also a special race with Bahrain being the team’s home-from-home. In my first few months at McLaren, the team has made me feel right at home in such a short space of time.
“I feel confident and comfortable going into the new season, which is important as I want to get the most out of the car right from race one.
“As a team, we made the most of pre-season testing with some smooth running. It was great to get to grips with the MCL35M in just a few days that we had to put it through its paces.
“I think, naturally, it takes a bit of time to adjust to a new car, but I’m feeling prepared to hit the track come Friday. It’s an exciting circuit with a few big braking zones and plenty of opportunities for overtaking.
“Racing at dusk is always cool and brings an added challenge to the weekend.
“This season looks like it’s going to be a competitive one, but I’m looking to hit the ground running, leave nothing on the table, give it my all for the team and hopefully give the fans something to smile about.”