Norris eager to learn from Ricciardo rather than worry

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Lando Norris knows that McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo will be a massive force to reckoned with this year, but the Briton is eager to learn from the Aussie rather than worry about his rivalry with him.

Norris enjoyed a strong second campaign in F1 last season, performing on a par with his more experienced sidekick Carlos Sainz who has moved to Ferrari for 2021.

However, as a seven-time Grand Prix winner and a driver unanimously considered as one of the sport's top talents, Ricciardo appears on paper as a formidable opponent for Norris, whose skills are undeniable but still maturing.

The incumbent McLaren charger isn't downplaying the magnitude of the challenge that awaits him, but Norris will also embrace the opportunity to learn and develop.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren on the grid. 06.12.2020. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Sakhir Grand Pri

"It’s a little bit into the unknown because I’ve only had one team-mate in Formula 1, so it’s hard to know what to expect from somebody different," explained Norris, speaking to The Race.

"I’ve seen Carlos do many things better than Daniel, but there’s also a lot of things that Daniel probably does better than Carlos.

"He’s a different driver, but he’s not going to be tenths faster than Carlos. Maybe there’s better consistency or better feedback, he’s able to do a better job in qualifying or he’s better at tyre saving, there’s these small things that he can do slightly better in.

"A lot of it is just going to be from his [Ricciardo] experience of being with a lot of different teams in Formula 1 and at a Red Bull team which has won races lately.

"I can’t wait for the opportunity to learn from someone like that, rather than feel worried or anything like that."


Norris' margin of progress on race day - especially in terms of consistency - remains significant, and that could be where his problems with Ricciardo may lie this year.

While he'll be all eyes and ears, Norris insists he'll also exert his independence rather than differ to his new teammate. An decisive approach he already implemented last season.

"I’ve been able to lead my own conversations a lot more, lead in decisions and future projects,” says Norris of his contribution to the team off track.

"Not just thinking about how to maximise that car in the race, but what to look ahead to and prepare for in the next races and next year and in the future.

"In 2019 and even 2020, I was very critical of myself and saying I’m not doing a good enough job, but there comes a point when I have to be – not selfish – but have got to say I want this from the car and I’m blaming the car for not giving me that confidence.

"I’ve learned how to just say ‘I will be doing a better job if you can make this better on the car’, because it will give me better confidence.

"Maybe it’s not better on the car, but mentally for myself, for my own performance."

Few doubt that off the track, the Norris/Ricciardo duo will pick up where the colorful Norris/Sainz couple left off.

But on the track, the rivalry between the two talents will be an intriguing one to watch.

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