Daniel Ricciardo was a contender for a possible points finish as the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix reached its closing stages. Running in 11th place, having started from 14th after a three-place grid drop for a qualifying transgression, the McLaren driver was fully in the battle for a low points finish when he encountered an apparent technical failure, causing him to crawl to a stop in the entrance to the pit lane. The exact reason for the stoppage is yet to be confirmed by McLaren. With Lando Norris bringing home his car in seventh to get the squad's first points of the season, team boss Andreas Seidl was apologetic over letting Ricciardo down. "We have to apologise to Daniel," Seidl said in his post-race debrief. "Without his mechanical failure we would have had both cars home in the points. We'll analyse the exact cause of his DNF when we're home."
Ricciardo: It was a step in the right direction
Having spent his Bahrain weekend toiling away at the back of the field, Ricciardo was pleased to have seen a steadying of the ship at McLaren over the Saudi weekend. "The end result was obviously not what I wanted, but this weekend was more promising and we performed better on this track," he explained. "We're still not where we want to be, but this was a small step in the right direction. Without the issue that ended my race, we could've had both cars finishing in the points." Putting a brave face on things as he watched his teammate claim McLaren's first points of the year, Ricciardo praised Norris for his drive. "It's positive to see Lando get some points for the team after a decent battle," the Australian commented. "We've still got a lot to improve but we're in a better place than Bahrain. So, we'll take that, keep working, and build from here."
McLaren more competitive in Saudi Arabia
Having remained mired in the lower midfield during the season opener in Bahrain, the Saudi Arabian weekend was a stronger showing for the Woking-based outfit. Able to join in the battle for the minor points positions, Seidl said the team had achieved the maximum result based on their potential up until Ricciardo's technical issue. "Our target was to stay in the race, make good strategic decisions and get back into the top 10 with Lando and Daniel, who did a great job all weekend of maximising the package we have at the moment," Seidl said. "The entire team worked very hard to achieve that. Thanks to everyone at the track, back in the factory, and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP, for a huge effort this week. "P7 was a good result for Lando, and the reward everyone deserved. Special mention for our pit-crew who did two excellent stops again today."