The FIA Formula One World Championship rolls into the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend, a happy hunting ground for Mclaren F1 Team’s new recruit Daniel Ricciardo who made a visit to the podium in Imola last season, will history repeat itself?
Ricciardo has had to wait three weeks to get back into the seat of his MCL35M, after a relatively successful opening round of the championship at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Despite front wing damage he managed to bring home points on his debut for Mclaren, a weekend which was full of emotion for the Australian who believes he still has a few things to learn in his new car.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the car after a positive start in Bahrain. We secured a good result in that first race, and it felt amazing to make my debut for the team. I was a bit unfortunate with the damage we found on the car after the race, and there’s still a few more things to learn and get to grips with which takes a bit of time.”
“But given that, I’m confident we’ve got a lot more performance left to unlock. We’ve been working hard back at the factory to understand how we can build on that solid start. I completely expected it to take a few races to feel comfortable in the car, but I’m feeling better after race one than I had done at the same point in previous years, so that’s really promising.”
Ricciardo is hoping to take his success at Imola last season into this weekend’s race, in a bid to improve on his seventh place in Bahrain.
“Imola’s up next and we’re going to give it plenty. It’s an iconic old-school track with a fast and flowing layout that provides little room for error. I’m really excited to be heading back there after last year’s race where I finished on the podium. I’m definitely planning on bringing that experience from last year to help the team this weekend and fight for those points.”
“There are still areas we need to work on” – Lando Norris
Despite an impressive opening round of the championship, Lando Norris believes that there is still improvements to be made with his MCL35M. Norris achieved an outstanding fourth place in Bahrain, perhaps even throwing down the gauntlet to his teammate Daniel Ricciardo as to who the number one driver will be at Mclaren this season.
Moving on into this weekend and a circuit which is notoriously difficult to overtake on, Norris will be looking to better his seventh place starting position from Bahrain, to be in the best position to capitalise at the start of the race.
“We’ve started the season with a good team result in Bahrain. Our aim is to keep progressing and maximising performance at each race. There are still areas we need to work on to try and unlock that extra bit of potential that can make us more competitive, but we’re pushing hard to make those steps.”
“The first race really showed how strong the competition is this year, which is going to make for some exciting on-track battles that I’m looking forward to.”
“It’s great to be back at Imola again this season. As always, we’ll be aiming to maximise the time on-track to get the most out of the car in preparation for qualifying and the race. Track position is important in Imola with limited chances for overtakes.”
“Turn One will be the best opportunity to make a pass, and it could be tricky elsewhere with the track being so narrow. We’ll be pushing to make the most of the weekend and score some good points.”