McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says his team is delighted to have started the new Formula 1 season as the third-fastest team but insists it 'can't get carried away'.

Lando Norris finished a comfortable fourth in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, beating a recovering Sergio Perez and then Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by a significant margin.

Daniel Ricciardo’s seventh-place finish ensured McLaren left Bahrain third in the constructors’ championship.

Reflecting on the race in Bahrain, Seidl was pleased with McLaren’s start to 2021 and believes it has closed the gap to Mercedes.

“First of all I am very happy with the outcome of today’s race,” Seidl said. ”Finishing the first race of the season in P4 and P7. It was exactly what we were looking for and also what we wanted to have leaving the first race, points for the constructors’ championship. 

“It was encouraging to see that, if you looked at Lando’s race, we had the third-best car. It was also encouraging to see that if you look at the gap between Lando and Lewis, who had pretty much a flat out race and it was only about 45 seconds which again confirms that we made a good step forward again compared to these top guys over the winter, which as I said many times, it is key to make these steps in order to get back to the front again in the future. 

“At the same time, we have to acknowledge we have strong competition who also made good steps forward so that’s the bigger picture and we simply need to make sure we don’t get carried away from that.”

Earlier this week, McLaren revealed Daniel Ricciardo picked up floor damage following contact with Pierre Gasly after the Safety Car restart.

Seidl added: “We celebrate today and we keep working hard and bring more updates to the car to make sure we stay in this battle. Lando did a brilliant race, he had it under control at every stage of the race. 

“He pushed when he had to push, he managed his tyres when he had to manage them. He had to make sure he had enough left if Perez would have came closer towards the end of the race so I would say brilliant drive from him. For Daniel, it was simply good now to have the first race weekend with him under the belt. 

“He did a great performance in qualifying, I think it was a good start today to the race, but then somehow we struggled on his car to find the same pace that Lando had and every time he tried with Daniel to get a bit more out of the car, it wasn’t really there so it's something we need to analyse and learn from. Very happy with how the entire weekend went with Daniel, very happy that he finished very well, very good points for the team and it was a good start.”

 

 

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