McLaren F1 Team has enjoyed a strong start to the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, achieving their first podium of the season last time out in Imola. Although, the opening two sessions in Portugal suggests the team could be in for a tricker weekend.
Daniel Ricciardo has struggled to get comfortable in the MCL35M since joining the team. Despite the Australian’s experience, Lando Norris has certainly stamped his authority between the two, out-performing Ricciardo in the opening two races.
This weekend could be the ideal start for Ricciardo to make his presence known in the McLaren team and record a good result, so he was pleased with how the Friday practice sessions played out.
“It was a pretty good day in terms of my personal feeling in the car. I felt pretty comfortable from lap one this morning.” Ricciardo said.
The more laps I do, the better I feel, but it certainly felt like everything was more familiar when I hopped in the car today. I was ready to get on with it. I think we’re getting there.
“We were eighth this afternoon, so we’re definitely in the ballpark. I’ve still got a bit to find but we did make a small step forward for the afternoon session. We’ll try to make another step tonight and we should be right in the mix tomorrow.”
Ricciardo could only go twelfth fastest in the morning session but bettered it in the afternoon by going eight-tenths quicker to finish in eighth, out-doing Norris on this occasion to potentially add some much-needed confidence.
“Not a perfect day” – Lando Norris
After the stunning performance in Imola, Norris was brought back to earth and suffered a few issues on the opening day in Portugal.
The British driver drove a spectacular race two weeks ago to record the second podium finish of his career, taking his points tally to 27 points and third in the driver standings.
However, Norris didn’t enjoy his return to the Portimao circuit on Friday. He recorded the eighth fastest time in the morning, nearly nine-tenths behind Valtteri Bottas, before only going twelfth quickest in the second practice session.
Norris highlighted that he struggled with some issues and acknowledges that the team have a few areas to work on overnight ahead of qualifying tomorrow.
“Not a perfect day, a couple of issues here and there which interrupted some of our running. It wasn’t too bad, it just meant we didn’t quite get through the run plan as easily as we wanted to. We definitely have some work to do overnight on some things.
“I think there’s some quite clear areas we can focus on that, if we improve them a little bit overnight, we can definitely find some performance. So, that’s our aim tonight, we’ll see if we can come back stronger tomorrow.”