Daniel Ricciardo had a difficult beginning to life at McLaren since making a high-profile switch from Renault. While a number of reasons were cited for exactly why he was struggling so much in comparison with a far less experienced Norris, Ricciardo has finally pulled up his socks and got his mojo going.
The Australian driver notched a race win last weekend in Monza, much to the delight of his crew and a number of adoring fans. While teammate rivalries can be tricky at time, Norris was happy to see Ricciardo come home with victory in Italy.
“Definitely a good amount of it [the outcome] was improved performance. Carlos [Sainz] was on the podium last year so we were confident we could have a good one,” Norris said.
“Maybe not expecting the outcome we had but we expected a potential podium, a chance to be ahead of the Red Bull or Mercedes and we thought we could take it.
“Daniel led from the start, we were in these positions [on merit], that’s why it’s more we deserved it [than luck], we were there on pace, where Daniel put the car, where I put the car.
“That definitely makes it cooler, more earned, and gives us that confidence to go in the future.”
Norris never doubted Ricciardo
Although Daniel Ricciardo’s triumph may not have come as a surprise to fans who have never doubted the Australian’s ability, Lando Norris would have been more likely to be on the first step of the podium in such conditions as in Monza if the season had started earlier.
The young Brit went on to discuss the Honey Badger’s progress inside the team, ensuring that he always had a smile on his face.
“In terms of what he can do on track now compared to what he could do a few months ago he’s definitely a lot closer, for sure. It’s also good for me in a way, as much as I hate it because you want to beat anyone in any circumstance! It’s only going to push me more, push the team more, help us as a team in the Constructors’ as well,” Norris said.
As Norris points out, Ricciardo’s comeback will be key for McLaren in the battle for third place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“We’re racing Ferrari, who have got two extremely good drivers, to beat them week in week out,” he continued.
“It’s been a tough first half of the season for us when Daniel has been struggling that little bit, but now he’s come through a bit more.
“I think he’s showing what he can do and what everyone knows he can do, and the reason [why] he came to McLaren. It’s only going to be better for all of us.”