Lando Norris biography reveals how Daniel Ricciardo’s ‘leap of faith’ backfired and almost ended his stuttering F1 career

For a while, it looked like Daniel Ricciardo’s stint in F1 was all but over following his dismal spell at McLaren.

The Honey Badger is a popular figure in the sport, but his career trajectory has gone downhill ever since he decided to leave Red Bull at the end of 2018.

Daniel Ricciardo. Credit:
Daniel Ricciardo. Credit:

Yet, when he joined McLaren, it seemed like he could resurrect a stuttering spell, but that was not to be as the car was not to his liking and he was consistently beaten by his younger teammate Lando Norris.

However, in the book Lando Norris: A Biography, author Ben Hunt has given an excerpt of a conversation with Ricciardo.

“I feel like McLaren have done things to set themselves up for the rule changes,” Ricciardo said, as quoted in the biography.

“The next era of F1 has the ability to turn the field around a little bit. Everything I have seen excites me about where McLaren is heading.

“I believe in the personnel. They have more backing and are doing what it takes to be a real contender.”

However, this was barely the case as Ricciardo’s spell at McLaren panned out.

He was given no favours with an underperforming car, but what hurt his prestige in the sport the most was just how comfortable Norris looked in comparison.

While Ricciardo had managed to get a Grand Prix win in the Italian Grand Prix in 2021, he was unable to replicate this success the following year.

While his point-difference with Norris was not that significant in his first season at the Papaya-Orange, he was hit with a harsh reality check the following campaign, regularly failing to enter Q3 and finishing outside the points far too often.

Norris’ performances further added pressure on Ricciardo and eventually, McLaren took the decision to replace the Australian with his younger compatriot Oscar Piastri.

Although he received a handsome payout in the process, Ricciardo found no seat in F1 and seemed resigned to spend the season outside the sport.

He joined Red Bull as the team’s reserve driver to ensure that he stayed in tough with the gruelling nature of F1. Through perseverance and diligent efforts, Ricciardo showed the Red Bull hierarchy that he still had a lot to offer and following tyre-testing in Silverstone, he took the seat of Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri.

In many ways, AlphaTauri has acted as a redeeming act in the career of Ricciardo, but he himself has his sights on bigger goals, with a reunion with Max Verstappen at Red Bull in 2025 earmarked as his main objective.

Read more: “We just didn’t listen to him”: Mercedes accepts mistake in ignoring Lewis Hamilton feedback to improve W14

Add Comment