McLaren Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest time on the opening morning of pre-season testing in Bahrain on Friday. The Australian who joined the Woking-based outfit from Renault over the winter was happy with how his opening day went as he was able to get get more familiar with the team. Speaking following the action, the Australian said:

It was really good to get back out in the car for my first proper session with McLaren. 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. 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!

Lando Norris took over running the car in the afternoon and set the second-fastest time of the day with a time of 01:30.889s and speaking following the action he said:

“First of all, very happy to be back in a Formula 1 car. It’s my first time putting the MCL35M to the test in the dry. 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. 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. 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. Thanks to everyone both here and back at the factory for all the hard work and making it such a smooth first day’s running.”

McLaren Executive Director of Racing Andrea Stella commented saying:

It was a productive first day of testing. The conditions were a bit special due to the wind and sand on the track, but actually this didn’t affect the run plan very much as we could still compare data from run to run and from both drivers. We didn’t have any major issues today, only small things to fix here and there which is normal on the first day running a new car. But it’s only day one, and we’ll keep monitoring as we accumulate mileage on the car.

“We were able to run through our planned test items – Daniel running in the morning and Lando in the afternoon – with both drivers getting an early understanding of the car. We now need to optimise the remaining two days with preparation for the first race being shorter than ever, so we need to try and be as efficient as possible.


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