RACE DEBRIEF

    Daniel Ricciardo appeared perplexed as to why he’d struggled for race pace en route to seventh place on his McLaren debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix. But a post-race examination of his MCL35M car by the team revealed that the Australian had been hobbled by floor damage after contact with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

    Ricciardo was attempting to follow team mate Lando Norris through on Gasly at the Lap 4 Safety Car restart when he connected with the Frenchman’s AlphaTauri AT02, with the front wing of Gasly’s car breaking in the impact.

    And although Ricciardo was able to continue on his way, he couldn’t match the pace of Norris, who claimed P4 as Ricciardo finished P7 – the Australian telling the media afterwards: “I couldn’t really extract the pace form the car and when I did, I could [only] do it for one or two laps.”

    READ MORE: ‘I couldn’t extract the pace from the car’ says Ricciardo, despite points finish on McLaren debut

    But according to Team Principal Andreas Seidl, there was a very good reason for that…

    “Post-race we found damage to Daniel’s floor from the impact of Pierre running into the back of his car at the beginning of the race,” said Seidl. “The level of damage cost a considerable amount of downforce.

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    Ricciardo couldn't understand why he'd failed to extract the race pace from the MCL35M

    “Despite the performance loss, Daniel used his experience to cope with the issues and score important points for the team. We now look forward to the next race.”

    Despite Ricciardo’s own disappointment, Seidl added that he’d been pleased with how his team had performed over the Bahrain weekend, as McLaren kicked off the year with a double points finish.

    “I’m still very happy with how the entire weekend went with Daniel, very happy we finished in good points, and it was a good start,” said Seidl.

    “Finishing the first race of the season in P4 and P7 was exactly what we were looking for and what we wanted to have for the first race, double points for the constructors’ championship, so it was encouraging to see."

    READ MORE: Norris had ‘flashbacks’ to maiden podium as he charged to P4 in Bahrain

    Ricciardo and Norris’ 18 points from Bahrain ensured they left the Kingdom in the third position in the constructors’ in which they finished 2020.