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While Australian Daniel Ricciardo has been locked in to race for McLaren in the Formula 1’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, another mystery remains.

Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris will be back at it for McLaren. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)
Source: Getty Images

 

Has McLaren found the fix to the braking problems that hindered its pre-season testing?

 

 

Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris is not too sure, although he says McLaren has “worked very, very hard” to fix the issue ahead of this weekend.

 

 

“They worked very, very hard to manufacture things and get everything ready for tomorrow but it’s not a simple process,” Norris told Formula 1 TV.

 

 

“They’ve needed to take the time to understand it all, what’s going on and what’s going wrong. We don’t really know honestly unless we put it on the car and find out tomorrow.”

 

 

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl had said at pre-season testing that it was in a “race against time” to fix the excessive brake temperatures that restricted Norris to short runs.

 

 

“We have an unexpected problem with the front brake that we need to solve,” he said.

 

 

Speaking on Friday ahead of the season-opener, Norris said it is not “the most confident” he has ever been in a car.

 

 

“I didn’t do much more testing than everyone else, in fact I probably did less in many ways,” he said.

 

 

 

“I did more laps but I did have double the amount of time others had. Ours was a lot more biased to shorter and aero runs as opposed to long runs and understanding quite as much stuff. I think we’re definitely in a decent place but behind in other areas.”

 

 

 

As for the competition, Norris told BBCthat Red Bull are the pre-season favourites.

 

 

 

“But Ferrari are definitely the closest after that,” he added.

“They are downplaying themselves massively, as they would.

 

 

“But consistently in every single run they’ve done since the first lap in [the first test in] Barcelona, they’ve been basically at the top.

 

 

 

“It was just the final day [of testing last week] when Red Bull brought some new parts along they took a little step forward. But at the same time Ferrari could have just put a bit more fuel in and just not looked as good.”

Lando Norris (centre left) and Daniel Ricciardo at the launch of the McLaren MCL36 Formula One racing car for the 2022 season. (Photo by McLAREN / AFP)
Source: AFP

 

 

Norris also tipped Haas to exceed expectations, calling them the “big surprise given how far behind they were last year”.

 

 

 

When it comes to teammate Ricciardo, the Australian has told the McLaren website he is “hungry” to get back in the car after recovering from Covid-19.

 

“I’m glad to be back, feeling better and ready for the Bahrain Grand Prix and season ahead,” he said.

 

 

 

“I was disappointed to not be in the car last week but despite being unwell, I’ve been able to keep in touch with the team, chat to Lando [Norris] about the car and prepare as best as I can for the race weekend.

 

 

 

“It’s hard to know where we’ll be on the grid but it’s going to be competitive and I’m hungry to get back in the car and go racing.

 

 

 

“Heading into my second year with the team, I feel more confident and comfortable than ever.

 

 

 

“I’m determined to build on last year’s performance and use everything the team and I learned from the highs and lows to make this season one of our best.”

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