Lando Norris is thrilled to have started the new Formula 1 season in fourth place at the Bahrain Grand Prix and is happy to have achieved it with pure speed rather than the misfortune or mistakes of other competitors.

Norris lost his first qualifying match against new team-mate Ricciardo on Saturday, but the 0.047-second difference is the smallest among all team-mates, showing that McLaren, like in the past two years, has a very balanced driver lineup.

Norris overtook Ricciardo from outside the Turn 4 in the first lap of the race and later overtook Leclerc in Ferrari, which Ricciardo failed to do and finished behind Perez and Leclerc in seventh place.

“Very happy. A good result not just for myself but for us as a team,” said Norris.

“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.”

First one down! I think overall it’s been a good weekend. We can’t complain with that result,” said Ricciardo.

“I think 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. Thanks to the guys back at MTC and here at the track for their hard work and preparation.”

Seidl – ‘We had third fastest car’

2021 Bahrain GP Norris leads Leclerc race on mediums C3 PIrelli Photo McLaren
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, leads Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21 at the 2021 Bahrain GP (Photo: McLaren)

McLaren F1 team boss Andreas Seidl is delighted with the good start to the new season and the new partnership with Mercedes, which has been supplying them with power units for the first time since 2014.

“We’ve had a great start this weekend to the 2021 season. Congratulations to the whole team – here in Bahrain, back home at the factory and also, especially, to our colleagues at Mercedes, who worked really hard with our team over the winter to make sure we were ready to hit the ground running at the opening race,” added Seidl.

“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.”

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

1 Mercedes 41
2 Red Bull/Honda 28
3 McLaren/Mercedes 18
4 Ferrari 12
5 AlphaTauri/Honda 2
6 Aston Martin/Mercedes 1
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