McLaren F1 Team gained a huge points haul of twenty-two points with fourth and fifth place finishes at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lando Norris achieved fourth place, his highest finish since the Italian Grand Prix. Although his race was quite quiet, he was able to beat the two Renault DP World F1 Team drivers – Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon – something the team has struggled to do in recent races.
After the race, Norris paid his respects to F1 and the FIA for the work they’d done in helping Romain Grosjean during his horrible accident, which saw him crash into the barrier and his car engulfed in flames. Luckily, Grosjean was able to walk away and was assessed further at a local hospital.
Norris said: “First of all, I’m glad to see that Romain [Grosjean] wasn’t seriously injured. It was good to see him get out of the car and it proves how safe the sport has become thanks to the work done by F1 and the FIA along with the teams. Once again, the halo has proved that it saves lives, and I’m sure that we’ll learn even more from this accident and make the sport even safer. The bravery shown by the marshals and medical car crew was absolutely incredible as well.
“Otherwise, a very good race! First time I think we’ve had that in a long time. I think everything went pretty much perfectly for us. Both starts were really good which put us in a strong position ahead of the Renaults. That was all really! There wasn’t a lot more to the race. I know there was a lot of action, but I think we just had a good strategy and we did what we had to do. My race wasn’t boring, but it was quite straightforward and we stuck to our plan and focused on ourselves. That was all we wanted to do in the beginning and that’s what we did, so I’m happy it all paid off. Good points, fourth and fifth – one of our best results as a team. A good bounce back from yesterday.”
Carlos Sainz Jr. – “The most important thing today is that Grosjean is okay”
Carlos Sainz Jr. had an impressive climb up the grid. The Spaniard started in fifteenth after a he was unable to complete Q2 in qualifying due to a brake failure on his car.
He started the race on the unflavoured Soft tyre but it proved to be strong for him and sent him flying up the field. When he switched to the Medium tyres, he still had amazing pace and was able to keep climbing the field to cross the finish line in fifth.
“First of all, the most important thing today is that Grosjean is okay. It was a massive relief to see him jump out of the car after such a scary accident. I think this is the hardest reminder of how dangerous motorsport is. Despite the incredible safety measures we have nowadays, our lives are still at risk every weekend when driving these beasts to the limit. This has to be respected. On the positive side, what happened today underlines the great job of Formula 1 and the FIA, in collaboration with the teams, to keep making the cars safer every year. I think no one will dare to criticise the halo, for example, after what we’ve seen tonight. Finally, I want to highlight the job of the marshals and our pit-crews. They may not drive the cars, but they are equally exposed to big risks and they are key to protect us all,” said Sainz Jr.
“From my side, another good comeback from P15 to P5. I managed to do a very strong first stint with the Soft tyre, overtaking a lot of people but at the same time making that tyre last. The second stint on the Medium was also very strong, and we were able to pass both Renaults and have good pace closing the gap to Lando. It was a great race and we managed to score a big amount of points for the team which is crucial for the championship standings.”
Andreas Seidl – “Well done today to both our drivers and the entire team”
McLaren’s strong weekend sees them leapfrog BWT Racing Point Formula One Team and Renault to third place in the Constructors Championship.
Team Principal Andreas Seidl is ecstatic at the ‘well-executed’ race from the team that has leaped them to that coveted third place. He too, also applauds the response from the F1 community after today’s incidents.
Seidl said: “The most important thing that comes out of the Bahrain Grand Prix is that Romain [Grosjean] and Lance [Stroll] could both walk away after their accidents today. It’s a reminder for all of us that we should never lose sight of the risk our drivers are taking each time they leave the garage. The FIA, F1, the circuits and track marshals all around the world, together with the teams, have done great work to ensure Formula 1 has a very good level of safety. We need to remain aware that the sport will never be 100 per cent safe, and keep working to improve it.
“Well done today to both our drivers and the entire team, both here at the track and back home at the MTC, and to our colleagues from Renault. From P9 and P15 on the grid to P4 and P5 at the flag was another great recovery drive and gave us 22 significant Constructors’ Championship points. It was a well-executed race today, with the right calls in terms of tyres and race strategy and good work in the pit-stops. We can’t get carried away by it. Our target for the final two races must be to qualify higher up the grid – and we’re looking forward to attempting that next week when we’re back here in Sakhir, albeit racing on a very different circuit.”