McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo insisted that he was not bothered by his defeat to teammate Lando Norris in 2021, saying that he lost to one of the best.
Ricciardo joined McLaren in a bumper move and partnered with Norris. Many had big expectations from the then seven-time race winner, thinking he would lead the team into a new era. Instead, it was the young British driver who took up the role, outperforming his struggling Australian counterpart for most of the season.
Even though a resurgent second half to the season was had, Ricciardo finished the season behind on points. Some criticised the 2021 Italian GP winner for having a lacklustre season, but he remained calm.
Ricciardo insisted that he was not bothered by his defeat to Norris, saying that he would have been only if he had lost to a rookie or a newcomer.
“We’ve definitely learned from each other this year,” he said, as quoted by GP Fans.
“Even the times where he (Norris) has been quicker, he’s still taken some things from me. I don’t want to say it’s 50-50. I’ve probably taken more from him from a driving point of view.
“If this was his first year in F1 and he just jumped in and was doing what he’s doing, then maybe my pride would be a little hurt.”
Gracious in defeat
“I certainly acknowledge I’ve been in the sport a lot longer, but he is the guy in this team that knows the team,” Ricciardo continued.
“Even like giving feedback, he’ll relate to things. So I was quickly aware – forget the years in the sport – this is the more experienced guy, even with just the way he interacts with engineers and that, he knows the guys. So I need to listen to what he’s saying and try to understand what’s what with the car.
“Through me talking about the things I can’t do with this car, it’s also giving him awareness of… ‘So that’s why these other teams can do this. This is where we need to focus more energy and attention’.
“It’s been good. My pride is okay but if this was a rookie doing this, then I’d probably be a little more sad,” he concluded.