Lando Norris continued his excellent start to the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship with a finish inside the top five at the Portuguese Grand Prix, while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo fought through the pack to secure some much-needed points.
The British driver is enjoying one of his best starts to his Formula 1 career: Achieving a podium at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and securing fifth place in Portugal behind both the Red Bull Racing’s and Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers’.
Norris got underway well at the Portimao Circuit and overtook Esteban Ocon for sixth place on the opening lap. However, the Frenchman came back and put the McLaren driver under pressure, but he managed to maintain his spot and was rarely unchallenged after that.
Understandably, Norris was pleased with the result in Portugal and highlighted that fifth was the best result McLaren F1 Team could achieve, with Red Bull and Mercedes dominating out in front.
“Very happy with today. It was a strong race by the whole team, and a well-executed strategy.” Norris said. “I got past the people I needed to get ahead of in the early laps at the start, then the restart and the pit-stop.
“I’m really pleased for everyone in the team and with my performance. We scored some good points and P5 was the best we could achieve today, so I’m very happy.
“Big thanks to everyone here and back at the factory for their hard work.”
“Today was certainly a better day.” – Daniel Ricciardo
His teammate had some ground to make up after a disappointing qualifying session on Saturday. Ricciardo thought he had narrowly made it into Q2 before Ocon final flying lap summoned the Australian to a Q3 exit and sixteenth on the grid.
However, that didn’t affect the vastly experienced driver, and arguably looked the most comfortable in the MCL35M since joining the team. Ricciardo made up an impressive seven places to finish ninth in the Portuguese Grand Prix, rescuing some points for himself and his team after a dreadful Saturday.
Ricciardo said he used some of the anger from Saturday’s disappointing result to help him push his car throughout the race, but still feels restrained in the MCL35M:
“Today was certainly a better day. I was able to do what I set out to do and overtake some cars, have some battles and get rid of some anger from yesterday, so that was good.
`’I think there were moments of the race that were really positive and having got another race distance under me, I feel like I’ve got quite a bit of feedback for the team. I definitely feel some things which are holding me back in terms of what I want to do with the car, and every time I try it, it doesn’t quite hold on.
“So, I think there are some things we can immediately address with the set-up, and then with some updates to come.
Formula 1 faces the first double-header of the 2021 season, with a short hop to Barcelona next weekend for Spanish Grand Prix, and Ricciardo will be looking to build on today’s result and close down on his team-mate Norris.
“Overall, I’m pretty optimistic with how the race went, thanks again to the team at track and in Woking for their support and hard work this weekend. I’m already looking forward to Spain in a few days’ time.”