Lando Norris had a solid start to the 2021 Formula 1 season. The young McLaren driver held the upper hand over his experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Although the Australian was able to out-qualify Lando Norris by a tiny margin, he wasn't able to sustain his advantage as the Brit overtook him at the start and never looked back.
Norris finished the race in P4 behind the two Mercedes and Max Verstappen. He also finished ahead of Sergio Perez's second Red Bull. Norris's teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, finished the race in P7 after fending off the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz in the dying stages of the race.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl was impressed with Lando Norris' entire Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.
Andreas Seidl said:
"I think we have seen all weekend, especially in qualifying and the race, that Lando made the next step."
Since Pirelli became the official tire supplier of Formula 1, teams have been as focused on tire wear as they are on the pace of the car. It is important to keep the tire temperatures under control, otherwise, teams risk the tires falling off a cliff. This makes it important to control the race. The McLaren team principal went into detail about Lando Norris' ability to do the same:
"It was great to see how he pulled it off because it really was a very controlled race from his side. He pushed when he had to push and he controlled the race when he was in a position to control it."
Lando Norris' experience and confidence has built up in the last two years: Andreas Seidl
Seidl spoke about how the time spent by Lando Norris on improving his craft is finally bearing fruit for the Brit, as he can now command more respect within the team. Seidl specifically spoke about Lando Norris' struggles with tire management last season, and that the young McLaren driver has been able to get on top of these issues and put together a stellar weekend in Bahrain.
"If I look at the way he works together with his engineers, how he communicates during a practice session, during qualifying, during the race, under stress, you simply see he was building up the experience and the confidence over the last two years," the German explained.
"I think tire management today, he did a sensational job, he would push when it was needed. He was fully under control and that was obviously great to see."
With the arrival of Australian superstar Daniel Ricciardo in the team, Lando Norris must have felt early pressure to rally McLaren around him. The young Brit needed to deliver his fantastic performance in Bahrain to show the team he deserves to be the No.1 driver for McLaren. Ricciardo, on the other hand, needs to do more in a car capable of challenging for regular podiums this season.