Daniel Ricciardo vs Lando Norris: Who’ll Have the Bragging Rights for McLaren in 2021?

January 3, 2021 8:06 pm

McLaren are coming off an impressive campaign where they scored 202 points and finished the season in third place on the Constructors’ Championship table. This was their best-ever season in the V6-hybrid era, and spirits would, no doubt, be high going into the 2021 season.

The Woking-based outfit have steadily improved in the last few years. With a Mercedes engine powering their 2021 car, the hope would be to stay as the best of the rest behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

Going into the new season, McLaren have perhaps the most entertaining and energetic F1 lineup on the grid. Although fans would be sad to see Carlos Sainz leave, they couldn’t have got a better replacement for him – Daniel Ricciardo.

Alongside him would be Lando Norris. The young Briton displayed his mettle on the grid, and his partnership with Ricciardo would be amusing to watch, both on the track and off it.

Formula One F1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. McLaren’s Lando Norris arrives at the Yas Marina Circuit Hamad I Mohammed/Pool via REUTERS

Irrespective of all the fun and games that the due are expected to produce, F1 is all about business.

So, which one between the two is most likely to outshine the other?

Realistic expectations for McLaren F1’s teammate battle

For Norris, the 2020 campaign was a breakthrough one. He ended the season with 97 points, including a maiden podium, and even out-qualified Sainz in nine of the 17 races. Still, he fell eight points behind Sainz in the Drivers’ Championship table despite completing two more races than the Spaniard.

However, the man he will be up against this time around will be an even steeper challenge. Ricciardo is a seven-time Grand Prix winner and has been on the podium 31 times. The Australian is undoubtedly one of the best on the grid.

Formula One F1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

He’s coming off an impressive campaign with Renault, where he bagged 119 points and notched up two podiums. Although he’s moving to a new team, Ricciardo shouldn’t have too many hiccups adjusting and should start the season firing on all cylinders.

On the face of it, the most realistic expectation is that Ricciardo will quite easily outperform Norris. This is not to say Norris would have a bad year. The fact simply is that Ricciardo would be far too good against his teammate.

For Norris, he’ll be able to learn a lot and will end the season as an improved driver and perhaps could give his teammate a sterner fight in 2022.

Do you agree with this assessment? If not, comment below with what you feel about the teammate battle between Ricciardo and Norris.

Ronan Carvalho

Ronan Carvalho is an F1 writer for EssentiallySports, he is an F1 enthusiast and a big fan of Kimi Raikkonen. Ronan is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in BMM at St Xavier's College (Mumbai).

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