Lando Norris Explains Why He Sees Daniel Ricciardo’s F1 Form as a Blessing in Disguise

Published 10/29/2021, 6:15 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo celebrates with the trophy on the podium with after winning the race alongside second place McLaren’s Lando Norris REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini


In the first stint of the 2021 F1 season, it seemed like Lando Norris would be the star of the season. Single-handedly bringing McLaren to P3, and even snatching the position from Bottas on the drivers’ board, Norris seemed unstoppable. However, his season after the summer break, and especially the race at COTA, has been relatively bleak for the Brit; especially after being outscored by his teammate every race since.

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After being in the spotlight for a while now, the race in COTA was a relatively quiet one for Lando Norris. After the initial battle with Ferrari, Norris backed off into what had been a boring and disappointing race for the Briton. Although he finished behind both Ferraris, Norris brought home some crucial points for McLaren.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 23, 2021. McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during qualifying REUTERS/Mike Blake

Before the summer break, Norris bore the weight of the battle against Ferrari. Now, Daniel Ricciardo’s resurgence has McLaren well-equipped for the P3 battle. This reassures Lando. “In the first half of the season, it was difficult to keep Ferrari behind us when he was just having to find his pace.”

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Explaining his troubled race at COTA, Norris considers the PU may hold some answers. “I’m still driving the old one, that definitely doesn’t help. But I don’t take that as an excuse.”

With engine penalties being a usual sight over the last few races, Norris hasn’t switched to a new PU yet. If his engine lifespan is coming to an end, it may only be a matter of time before we see Norris at the back of the grid. However, with the new Ferrari PUs being a major advantage to the Prancing Horses, McLaren would have to make their move soon.

Lando Norris worried about Ferrari

Although Ricciardo now plays an active role in bringing in points for his team, has he joined the game a little too late? The weekends in Istanbul and the US were wake-up calls for the team. Ferrari’s upgrades have been magical; the red cars have been making their way around circuits with incredible speed.

Not that McLaren hasn’t been quick. The Papaya cars had incredible speed ahead of the race. However, Ferrari out-qualified their rivals and each kept a driver behind. After a close qualifying session with their rivals, Norris foresaw the Ferrari speed.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 9, 2021. McLaren’s Lando Norris during qualifying REUTERS/Umit Bektas

“I guess we didn’t get our hopes up yesterday but they made a good jump from yesterday to today. We were still competitive, we were still not bad, but [Ferrari] were just quicker.”

On Sunday, Ferrari had licked their rivals, only adding to Norris’ woes“At times I thought we had better pace, but I think altogether, considering Charles was 25, 20 seconds ahead or something ahead of Daniel, it shows that they [Ferrari] were again the quicker car today. Disappointing, and we couldn’t do anything more but it’s the way it is sometimes.”

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Norris isn’t one to get beaten up. The driver is ready for the race in Mexico. “We’ll pick ourselves up and look forward to Mexico. I just want to get back in the car already and keep working hard to make some progress in our championship battle.”

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As the McLaren duo gets their engines started for the season’s final triple-header ahead, Abu Dhabi will arrive in the blink of an eye. Which team will hold on to the P3 position after Qatar?

Watch this story: How Much Does an F1 Car Cost?

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Shreya Sanjeev

612 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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