Ricciardo’s Race Engineer Speaks on His Lack of Norris Favouritism Mindset During Bleak F1 Form

Published 10/06/2021, 6:04 AM EDT
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – MARCH 12: Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren F1 stand on the grid during Day One of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 12, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)


One of the biggest driver transfers of this season was Daniel Ricciardo joining McLaren following Carlos Sainz’s move to Ferrari. People were really stoked to see Daniel Ricciardo pair up with Lando Norris. The two are probably the most charismatic and funniest characters in the paddock. Apart from that, as a team, McLaren was taking huge steps forward as well.

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They went from being a team that found it difficult to even finish in the points in 2017 to be the team that fought for the podiums by the end of 2019.

However, the journey was not easy for Ricciardo when he joined the Woking-based team. Initially, he found it difficult to get up to speed. His Race Engineer Tom Stallard sat down with F1 writer Greg Stuart and appreciated how Ricciardo worked his way up to keep his pace in his new team.

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Ricciardo and McLaren failed to gel together at the beginning

Daniel Ricciardo joined McLaren after having a stellar second half to the 2020 season with Renault – where he took two podiums and finished all the races in the points. However, Ricciardo failed to gel with his new team instantly and was way off the pace, in comparison to this teammate Lando Norris.

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 26, 2021 McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The biggest display of this disparity was when Ricciardo pulled to the side to allow Lando to lap him without any issues on lap 53 in the Monaco Grand Prix. Lando went on to get a podium, and Ricciardo finished outside the points.

No excuses from Daniel Ricciardo

However, Daniel’s Race Engineer Tom revealed that throughout the process of getting up to speed, Ricciardo stayed really patient. He never insinuated that the team is favoring Lando, or the car has a wrong set-up.

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MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 12: Race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren F1 and McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 12, 2021, in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Tom also revealed that the whole team has immense respect for Ricciardo because of the way he just put his head down, made no excuses, and got on with the work.

And at no point during the phase where he was getting up to speed with our package did he question that there was any kind of, the team backing the other driver, or the engineers didn’t know what they were doing, or the car was set-up wrong. He just knuckled down, got on with the work, and I think that the whole team has a lot of respect for him for that.

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And this attitude didn’t go unrewarded, as Daniel became the person who took McLaren back to first place on the podium for the first time since 2012. He finished a superb Italian Grand Prix weekend with an emotional victory at Monza, a reward for his immense work ethic and never-say-never attitude.

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Riddhi Mondal

72 articles

Riddhi Mondal is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport.

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