Daniel Ricciardo was buzzing after his first qualifying session with McLaren. The affable Australian qualified sixth in his first race for the Woking-based team. Ricciardo also out-qualified his teammate Lando Norris after struggling to match the Brit in any of the practice sessions.
Daniel Ricciardo struggled to get the most out of the car throughout the weekend and the gap to Norris was substantial in every session. However, as Daniel Ricciardo later revealed, he kept learning about the car and in qualifying; he was finally able to beat his young teammate.
Speaking to SkyF1 after the qualifying session at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo couldn't hide his joy. The Australian maintained his record of never being out-qualified by a teammate at Bahrain.
Speaking about his performance in the session, Ricciardo said:
“But probably more importantly within myself, I made a step today which I know will come over time but obviously you want it sooner than later. I did make a nice step today and that’s what I’m most satisfied with. I think I just made progress in each session and didn’t over-complicate it. Maybe it’s the 31-year-old in me! We started a bit off the pace yesterday, but it’s a process and to make a good difference tonight I was really happy.”
A good start to the McLaren adventure: Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo revealed his performance was down to spending more time in the car and doing as many laps as possible. Racking up mileage is a crucial aspect of Formula 1 that helps teams and drivers understand the car and its characteristics.
The Australian said:
“I think the more laps I do, the more I’ll feel the car and the limit. I know I’m experienced in the sport, but the truth is it does take time and it will take time to get that last few percent. I certainly got closer to that tonight and for that I’m happy. I think it’s a good start to the McLaren adventure.”
Daniel Ricciardo later revealed he got a nod of approval from the team after he delivered on the expectations set on him.
"I got a thumbs up,” Ricciardo said.
“I think they have obviously seen from day one of testing and on the timesheets, I was quick in those first two days, but I think we knew I was still finding my feet. So I think they have followed my progress in the last two weeks and for that, I think they are quite happy to see the evolution over a small period of time, so we’ll keep going and hopefully it leads to bigger and better things.”
McLaren have been impressive throughout the pre-season test and practice sessions in Bahrain, which is why it came as a surprise to see the team behind a Ferrari and an AlphaTauri during the qualifying session. Ricciardo and Norris will look to unleash their car's performance at Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.