Ricciardo hails McLaren’s ‘awesome job’
By Mat Coch
Saturday 13th March, 2021 - 9:21am
Daniel Ricciardo ended the opening day of Formula 1 pre-season testing happy after a strong performance from McLaren.
Making his official debut behind the wheel for the squad, Ricciardo ended his portion of the day’s running fastest.
He would ultimately slip to seventh versus the day’s ultimate pace, but was able to chalk up 46 trouble-free laps before lunch.
“It was really good to get back out in the car for my first proper session with McLaren,” the Australian said.
“I was able to push the car a little bit and get more familiar with it.
“It was a smooth morning, everything ran well and that’s all you can ask in testing – you want reliability on your side and the team back in Woking has done an awesome job of giving us a great start on day one.
“We got a good amount of runs and laps done, with a focus on getting more and more familiar and comfortable in the car,” he added.
“The plan for the next few days is similar, we’re aiming to leave here feeling ready to go for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Happy days!”
Ricciardo’s McLaren team-mate, Lando Norris, ended the day second fastest after he took over driving duties in the afternoon.
“It’s quite a shock to feel the speed of a Formula 1 car again, it’s been a while since I’ve had that sensation,” said the Brit.
“It was a good shock and it felt nice to be back, but not as nice with the conditions today.
“The second half of the day was very dusty and windy which made it tricky, so it wasn’t the easiest first day back in the car.
“We spent the session going through our test programme, making sure there are no problems with the seat and that I’m comfortable in the car,” he added.
“We’ve got some things to work on from that side over the next couple of days.
“We’ll sit down and review everything this evening, but it’s been a solid first day.”
Red Bull ended proceedings fastest courtesy of Max Verstappen, the Dutchman recording 139 laps across the day’s two sessions.
Mercedes and Haas meanwhile both struck trouble; a gearbox issue for the former and hydraulics for the latter.
That limited them to just six and 15 laps for Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher respectively before both teams were able to complete their afternoon programmes.
Day 2 of F1 testing commences today before the final day of running tomorrow.
The Bahrain Grand Prix follows on March 26-28.