The 2021 Formula 1 season suddenly felt much more real as Lando Norris put McLaren’s new challenger, the MCL35M, through its paces.

The British driver is entering his third year with the team and is joined this year by Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian moving from Renault on a three-year deal.

While changes aesthetically are hard to come by on the MCL35M compared to its predecessor, McLaren will be hoping that the combination of a return to Mercedes power and regulation changes around the floor to reduce downforce, will allow for them to build further on their P3 finish in the 2020 Constructors Championship.

The MCL35M is McLaren’s first car since renewing its partnership with power unit supplier Mercedes after six-years apart and Norris was the first to sample new machinery.

The MCL35M was presented by McLaren on Monday night in front of a live virtual audience, and on the following morning it was over to Norris to put the first laps on McLaren’s new challenger around a damp Silverstone.

Ricciardo will sample the MCL35M for the first time later today as McLaren begins to step up its preparations for pre-season testing and the first race of the season, both of which will take place in Bahrain.

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