Daniel Ricciardo says he enjoyed a “really smooth" first day of on-track running in McLaren’s new MCL35M Formula 1 car at Silverstone.

Ricciardo and new teammate Lando Norris shook down McLaren’s 2021 challenger at Silverstone on Tuesday as the team conducted one of its two permitted filming days.

After Norris completed some running in the morning, Ricciardo, who has joined the Woking squad on a three-year deal after leaving Renault, turned in his first laps in his maiden appearance for McLaren around a soaked Silverstone circuit.

The Australian has been left encouraged by McLaren’s quick start to the year, after it became the first team to fire-up and launch its 2021 car, having presented its Mercedes-powered MCL35M to the world on Monday evening.

“McLaren started on the right foot with the fire-up, that was a day early, and first day of running on track, everything has been smooth,” Ricciardo said after his first outing for the team.

“You can’t ask for too much more at this part of the season. Everything is firing on the right cylinders for now, so to speak, and we’re all good.”

Not only did the shakedown, which is restricted to 100km - or 17 laps of the Silverstone grand prix layout - provide McLaren with an opportunity to evaluate the installation of its Mercedes engine, but it also handed Ricciardo valuable track time.

The seven-time grand prix winner had not driven an F1 car since the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December and is set to only get the equivalent of 1.5 days of running in the MCL35M during a reduced pre-season test in Bahrain next month.

“It feels longer than two months actually, it always takes a little bit to get the cobwebs out,” Ricciardo explained.

“I think in these conditions, it’s greasy, they don’t fill you with a lot of confidence after it’s been a while since being in a car, but no it’s nice, everything has run really smooth.

“We completed what we had to, so really that’s all you can ask for. The more laps I turn, the more confidence and comfort I’ll feel with this team.”

McLaren is expected to carry out a second day of running at Silverstone on Thursday, enabling Ricciardo more time to get accustomed to the team’s procedures and crew ahead of the season.

Ricciardo said his target is to get fully integrated into the team and comfortable come the first race of the season in Bahrain on 28 March.

“Every little bit helps to get up to speed with the team, going through all the procedures,” he said.

“Really the plan and the target is to get to Bahrain on Sunday afternoon, be on the grid, and for there to be no inch of panic. It’s really just about feeling comfortable and familiar with all the crew.

“So we’re trying to go through that, and go through scenarios we would normally face on a race weekend. We don’t have the atmosphere around us now, but we can certainly try to replicate it, and put a little bit of pressure on ourselves.”

 

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