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Norris has taken the next step, says McLaren F1 boss Seidl

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Norris started the opener of the 2021 F1 season in seventh place, one place behind new McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo, but drove a measured race to finish fourth which included daring overtakes on Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly.

Entering his third season as a Formula 1 driver, team manager Seidl believes Norris has built on lessons he has learned in the past, hailing his “very controlled” race.

“I think we saw all weekend, especially in qualifying and the race, that Lando took the next step,” commented Seidl.

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“It’s something that we have to expect from a young driver, especially in his early years, to take these steps because that’s how you become a top player in this sport.

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“It was great to see how he did because it was really a very controlled race on his end.

“He pushed when he had to push and he controlled the stroke when he was able to control it.”

Norris said he was particularly happy with his racing pace at Sakhir, an area he admitted “wasn’t very good a few years ago”.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Nicholas Latifi, Williams FW43B, as sparks fly

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Seidl agreed with his pilot’s assessment and believed part of this progress was due to the Briton’s increased confidence and experience.

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“If I look at the way he works with his engineers, how he communicates in practice, during qualifying, during the race, under stress, you just see that he has built the experience and the confidence over the past two years, “explained the German.

“Now he’s re-implementing whatever was digested over the winter and he’s learned on his own, and that translates into the lap times and the performance in the race.

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“I think the tire management today he did a terrific job, he pushed when needed. He was totally in control and it was obviously great to see.”

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McLaren left Bahrain in third place in the Constructors’ Championship, the same place they claimed in 2020, which Seidl said was encouraging for the remainder of the campaign.

“I’m very happy with what the team achieved this weekend. Because I think the hard work everyone did during the winter paid off,” he added.

“The gap, for example, for [winner] Lewis [Hamilton], was only about 45 seconds I think.

“In a race where these guys at the front were flat, that’s an encouraging sign as it once again confirms that we’ve made a good step forward with the car.”

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