McLaren, that finished third in the last year team standings, confirmed their competitive position this afternoon at the Bahrain circuit, taking home 18 points with a fantastic fourth place conquered by Lando Norris and a seventh place for Daniel Ricciardo.
The 21-year-old Briton, who qualified sixth yesterday, demonstrated speed in the flying lap and an excellent race pace in today's battle with Charles Leclerc's Ferrari.
McLaren, together with Red Bull, confirmed what everyone had already seen during the winter tests. They brought on track a very quick, reliable and competitive car that today behaved really well.
At some point there was a flicker of hope for Lando to aim for the podium, but Valtteri Bottas was too quick for him, so he just had to forget the prospect of a repetition of last year's opening race, and give up to his second podium.
“Something happened with Bottas in his stop, I was hoping that was him out of the race to be honest!” he joked.
“I don’t wish that upon anyone obviously but I thought for a minute something might be coming from it. Last year started to flash back a bit."
He stated that he's happy about the result and his race in general, referring to his good pace:
“But no, I’m very happy with P4. I think we had good pace to be honest. The car was nice, I was maintaining a good gap, but I also had to get past Daniel, past Pierre, past Charles, so it wasn’t easy."
“But I fought hard in the beginning, to try and get track position, and then I could maintain the tyres and keep them in good condition.”
“The Mercedes and Red Bulls were a little bit ahead, they pulled away a lot,” he said. “I had to pass the Ferraris cleanly on track, on pure pace. Pierre and Daniel I got around on the outside at Turn 4, my little overtakes, so the pace was good," he said.
“It made it a bit easier I could have my own gap, and focus on myself - it made my life easier. We have got work to do, obviously, to keep pushing forward. It would have been nice starting from P4, then trying to get P4 let’s say. We have work to do but as far as first races go I think we can be very happy,” he concluded.