McLaren’s Mercedes-powered MCL35M car has hit the track for the first time ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Lando Norris and new signing Daniel Ricciardo shook down the team’s upgraded 2021 challenger at Silverstone on Tuesday as McLaren used up one of its permitted filming days to give its new car some mileage ahead of pre-season testing in Bahrain next month.

Ricciardo reported that his maiden outing with McLaren went “really smooth”, while Norris noted an instant difference in how the Mercedes power unit sounded and felt compared to the team's Renault-powered predecessor.

“There are obviously some differences with the Mercedes, so it already sounds a bit different and feels a bit different, but it’s not the easiest to tell loads about one lap,” Norris said.

“I already have comments and some feedback for the Mercedes lot, so we’ll see. I still need to get some more laps to get a good understanding but so far, so good.”

Last week, Mercedes admitted that it was battling some power unit-related problems ahead of the new season but McLaren, so far at least, has not encountered any issues.

"I mean that's obviously a question for Mercedes really,” McLaren technical director James Key said at the team's launch event on Monday. “We couldn't answer that.

"To date, we have done some full-scale testing on a dyno and that's been completely problem-free. But I would say Mercedes are definitely the best to answer that, to be honest.”

McLaren is expected to conduct its second and final filming day of the year on Thursday at Silverstone, with Norris and Ricciardo once again set to share driving duties.

 

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