After a difficult period, McLaren moved back up the grid under the leadership of team leader Seidl and technical director James Key. Drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz proved to be a competitive duo, ultimately giving McLaren third place in the 2020 championship.
As Sainz left McLaren to join Ferrari, the Woking team quickly took on Renault’s Ricciardo as their replacement for 2021.
Ricciardo and Norris were closely linked during the season-opening Bahraini Grand Prix, starting sixth and seventh respectively on the grid, before grabbing a total of 18 points for the team on Sunday, which helped McLaren to move up to third place in the constructors’ championship.
Seidl explained that it was essential for McLaren’s resurgence – and its fight against teams with inherently faster cars – to have two drivers able to fight in front of the stacked F1 midfielder to get a coherent accumulation of points. This is also the reason why the team faced Ricciardo.
“As you can imagine it was obviously important to me that when we made the decision to choose Daniel, we just made sure for the team that we have again also from this year a pilot training very solid, ”Seidl explained. after qualifying for Bahrain.
“Because the key over the past two years to securing these positions that we were able to secure in the constructors’ championship was that we always had two drivers who were there and always ready to score good points.
“I’m really happy with what we’ve seen so far from both guys. It’s great that we look like we have a really strong rider team again. We made it through both. cars. [in] Q3, the two guys are still very close to each other. “
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
Photo By: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
In the Bahrain race, Ricciardo went from sixth to seventh with damaged ground after being struck by Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri in the first lap.
Norris rose from seventh to fourth in one of his best F1 records to date, which Seidl said was proof that the young Briton “has taken the plunge” as a driver.
Commenting on his team’s performance after the opening of the F1 season, Seidl added that he was “very happy with what the team achieved this weekend, because I think once again that the hard work that everyone accomplished during the winter has paid off. “
Seidl was particularly encouraged to see Ricciardo and Norris come within nine-tenths of Max Verstappen’s time from pole, a margin three-tenths less than the successful team in qualifying for the 2020 race.
“The gap we had with pole position was smaller compared to what we could do the last time we were here in Bahrain, which is again an encouraging sign that we are taking a step forward as a team with the car forward and we’re headed in the right direction, ”Seidl said.