Lando Norris joked that he hoped Valtteri Bottas' slow pit stop in the season-opening F1 Bahrain Grand Prix resulted in the Finn's retirement from the race.

Norris was running comfortably fourth for most of the race in Bahrain ahead of Charles Leclerc, who was later overtaken by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for fifth.

Bottas was stationary for 10.9s in his second and final pit stop, dropping him behind Norris on track.

Speaking after the race in Bahrain, Norris admitted he saw flashbacks to last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix where Mercedes had a tyre mix up at its final pit stop.

“Something happened with Bottas in his stop,” Norris said. “I was hoping that was him out of the race to be honest! I don’t wish that upon anyone obviously but I thought for a minute something might be coming from it. Last year started to flashback a bit.”

Norris finished well clear of McLaren’s midfield rivals in Bahrain and over 20 seconds ahead of new teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

“I’m very happy with P4,” Norris added. “I think we had good pace to be honest, the car was nice, I was maintaining a good gap, but I also had to get past Daniel, past Pierre, past Charles, so it wasn’t easy.

“But I fought hard in the beginning, to try and get track position, and then I could maintain the tyres and keep them in good condition.”

Ricciardo could only manage seventh on his McLaren debut after struggling for race pace in the second part of the grand prix.

“It was a difficult race actually – not difficult, a little bit boring at times,” Ricciardo said.

“But just difficult that every time I tried to push, I heard the lap times of the cars in front, and every time I tried to do it, maybe I could do it once but then I would lose a lot of time the next lap.

“For sure lots of things I can feedback to the team, and I’m sure lots that I can learn from as well.

“But if this is a bad result or a bad day, seventh, I think we are okay. It is a good place to start from so I will keep learning and getting better.”

 

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