After a bad stage, McLaren reappeared for the prominent positions of the grid under the command of Seidl and the technical director James Key. Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz proved to be a competitive driver couple, allowing the Woking team to clinch third place in the constructors’ championship in 2020.
With Sainz leaving for Ferrari, McLaren reacted quickly to sign Ricciardo from Renault as his replacement for 2021.
Ricciardo and Norris were close even in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, starting sixth and seventh respectively on the grid. The pair added 18 points on Sunday, placing McLaren third in the constructors’ championship.
Seidl pointed out that the key to McLaren’s resurgence and its performance in the fight against teams with theoretically faster cars was having two drivers capable of fighting at the front of the F1 midfield who consistently secured a good sum of points. That was the reason the team hired Ricciardo.
“As you can imagine, when we made the decision to bet on Daniel, it was important to me to make sure the team had a very strong driver line-up this year,” Seidl explained after qualifying from Bahrain.
“Because the key in the last two years to make the positions that we made in the constructors’ championship was that we always had two drivers who were there ready to score some good points.”
“I am very happy with what we have seen so far from both of them. It is great that we once again have a very strong driver line-up. We managed to get both cars in. [en] the Q3, the two very close always “.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Ricciardo dropped from sixth to seventh in the Bahrain race after being hit by Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri on the first lap and damaging the ground.
Norris he rallied from seventh to fourth in one of his best F1 performances to date, which Seidl said was proof that the young Briton “has taken the next step” as a driver.
Commenting on his team’s performance after the start of the F1 season, Seidl said he was “very happy with what he achieved this weekend, because I think again the hard work that everyone has put in during the winter has paid off. fruits “.
Seidl was especially encouraged by the fact that Ricciardo and Norris fell within nine tenths of Max Verstappen’s pole time, three tenths less than in 2020.
“The difference from pole was smaller compared to what we did the last time we came to Bahrain, which is again an encouraging sign that we are taking a step forward as a team with the car and that we are going in the right direction. “, he finished.