Norris satisfied with P4 but was 'hoping' for Bottas trouble

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While happy with fourth, Lando Norris was "hoping" trouble for Valtteri Bottas would give him a second Formula 1 podium.

The McLaren driver briefly moved ahead of the Mercedes after a wheel gun problem extended Bottas' second pit-stop to 10 seconds.

But after Lewis Hamilton and Alex Albon's collision saw Norris inherit third at last year's season opener in Austria, ultimately the Finn recovered and was able to comfortably claim the final step on the podium despite an extra stop to also claim the fastest lap.

“Something happened with Bottas in his stop, I was hoping that was him out of the race to be honest!” Lando joked in the paddock post-race.

“I don’t wish that upon anyone obviously but I thought for a minute something might be coming from it. Last year started to flashback a bit.

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“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 [Ricciardo], past Pierre [Gasly], past Charles [Leclerc], so it wasn’t easy.

“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.”

McLaren, Ferrari and AlphaTauri emerged in the lead group of F1's midfield pack in Bahrain, and to have clinched the 'best of the rest' position marked the ideal start for Norris' season.

“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.

“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.”