Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Ricciardo: It’s the start of a new chapter, my first race in papaya

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo is looking to “hit the ground running” with McLaren when the 2021 Formula 1 season kicks off in Bahrain this weekend.

After moving to the team over the off-season, the Australian looked very comfortable in his new surroundings during pre-season testing and will be determined to prove he made the right decision with the switch to Woking.

Ricciardo was outstanding for Renault in 2020, finishing fifth in the drivers’ standings and earning two podium finishes, and with a Mercedes engine in the back of his MCL35M, it will be fascinating to see how he fares.

“I’m really excited for the of start the season,” he said. “It’s the beginning of a new chapter, my first race in papaya and I can’t wait to get started.

“It’s also a special race with Bahrain being the team’s home-from-home. In my first few months at McLaren the team has made me feel right at home in such a short space of time. I feel confident and comfortable going into the new season, which is important as I want to get the most out of the car right from race one.

“As a team we made the most of pre-season testing with some smooth running. It was great to get to grips with the MCL35M in just the few days that we had to put it through its paces. I think, naturally, it takes a bit of time to adjust to a new car, but I’m feeling prepared to hit the track come Friday. It’s an exciting circuit with a few big braking zones and plenty of opportunities for overtaking. Racing at dusk is always cool and brings an added challenge to the weekend.

“This season looks like it’s going to be a competitive one, but I’m looking to hit the ground running, leave nothing on the table, give it my all for the team and hopefully give the fans something to smile about.”