Daniel Ricciardo said he was happy with the way things were going after McLaren made a strong and smooth start to pre-season testing in Bahrain on Friday.
The Australian was fastest before lunch on the opening day in Bahrain before handing over to teammate Lando Norris, who ended up second overall to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the combined timesheet.
“It was really good. It was a nice first half of the day. Everything went pretty smooth,” Ricciardo, who has moved from Renault (now Alpine), told reporters.
“It’s nice to see your name up the top but really the testing, especially day one, is just about reliability and making sure everything runs and it was a good morning. The team’s happy.
“It was just a good feeling being back on track,” added Ricciardo who did 46 laps on the day.
McLaren, third overall last year, have switched from Renault power to Mercedes this season and Ricciardo said there was no real benchmark to compare to at present.
Norris did 45 laps on his way to second on the time sheets, he said: “It’s my first time putting the MCL35M to the test in the dry. It’s quite a shock to feel the speed of a Formula 1 car again, it’s been a while since I’ve had that sensation.
“It was a good shock and it felt nice to be back, but not as nice with the conditions today. The second half of the day was very dusty and windy which made it tricky, so it wasn’t the easiest first day back in the car,” added the Englishman
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said the programme had been completed as planned: “For us in particular it’s very important only having three test days and switching to the Mercedes power unit, it’s very important to have smooth running,. Everything is working as expected at the moment.”