It was a positive start for Lando Norris on the first Friday practice sessions of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 season opening round at the blustery Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain. The British driver ended Free Practice 2 in second place setting a time of 1:30.942, only 0.095 seconds behind Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Free Practice 2 was significantly faster than Free Practice 1 as the teams completed their runs on the softest compound of tyre available this weekend. Nevertheless Norris was still towards the top after Free Practice 1, ending the morning session in third place after setting a time of 1:31.897. Overall a positive start for the Mclaren driver who still believes there is work to be done.
“A reasonable first day back in the car. I think we started where we left off in testing, which is a good thing. The car has improved in some areas, which is positive, but other areas have got a little bit worse,” said Norris.
“It’s been a tricky day to put it all together but on the whole I’m happy. Here and there we’ve got some work to do for tomorrow, but if we can put it together, hopefully we can be competitive.”
A key point to take from Friday is just how close the midfield is this season, something Lando is very aware off.
“We seem to be very close to AlphaTauri, Ferrari and other cars, so tomorrow will definitely be tight, but we’ll see what we can do.”
Ricciardo finds new Free Practice layout “pretty chaotic”
Daniel Ricciardo believes that it’s lucky the Formula 1 paddock tested at the Bahrain Circuit, after finding time flew by under the new Free Practice schedule.
“I thought having an hour session instead of 90 minutes meant it would be a bit easier, with less time on track – but it was pretty chaotic actually. You feel the half-hour. It goes quick. I think it was quite fortunate that we were here a couple of weeks ago, so we could hit the ground running. I think you need to make the most of that track time.“
Nevertheless it was a strong first day for the Australian driver, making his debut free practice appearance in the Mclaren. Daniel ended Free Practice 2 in a respectable sixth place after setting a fastest lap of 1:31.230, 0.383 seconds behind Verstappen. Earlier on in the day it was ninth for the Honey Badger after lapping a 1:32.434 in the first session.
All in all a positive first day for Ricciardo, who believes there is more time to find tomorrow.
“I’m still getting there, I still want to find a few things in the car and obviously within myself. In Free Practice 2 I made some inroads, but hopefully I’ll find another step tomorrow to get more where I want to be.”