Bahrain Grand Prix – McLaren has revealed that damage sustained early in the Bahrain Grand Prix hampered Daniel Ricciardo’s race.
The Australian came home in seventh place on his debut race for the British team after qualifying up in sixth. His teammate Lando Norris finished just outside of the podium in fourth, some 20 seconds up the road.
In the opening stages of the race, Ricciardo and his teammate battled hard with Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly as they jostled for position. Gasly ran into the back of McLaren driver after the Safety Car restart with the Frenchman coming off a lot worse, needing to pit for a new front nose.
Following an inspection of Ricciardo’s MCL35M after the race, McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl revealed that floor damage to the Australian’s car left him with a considerable downforce loss.
“Post-race we found damage to Daniel’s floor from the impact of Pierre running into the back of his car at the beginning of the race,” said Seidl. “The level of damage cost a considerable amount of downforce.
“Despite the performance loss, Daniel used his experience to cope with the issues and score important points for the team. We now look forward to the next race.”
McLaren leave Bahrain with a strong double-points finish and lie in third in the constructors with Seidl feeling encouraged by the strong result.
“I’m still very happy with how the entire weekend went with Daniel, very happy we finished in good points, and it was a good start,” said the German.
“Finishing the first race of the season in P4 and P7 was exactly what we were looking for and what we wanted to have for the first race, double points for the constructors’ championship, so it was encouraging to see.”
Ricciardo was disappointed, but characteristically upbeat about his first performance for McLaren and is looking forward to better results going forward.
“First one down! I think overall it’s been a good weekend. We can’t complain with that result. I think from the team’s perspective as well it’s good to hit the road with fourth and seventh.
“I think there’s plenty to learn from. I wasn’t that impressed with my race. We couldn’t find the pace, so every time I tried to get a bit more out of it, it wasn’t really there – but I think there’s plenty to take from the race, plenty to learn from.
“If what I felt was an okay race ended with a P7, we’re looking alright. We’ll take the positives and learn from the data. Overall, a good weekend for the whole team, and a good first race for McLaren.”