Norris explains Ricciardo relationship
By Mat Coch
Thursday 8th July, 2021 - 12:11pm
Lando Norris has admitted that his renewed focus has seen him put more effort into his own performances than becoming friends with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Norris and his former McLaren counterpart Carlos Sainz enjoyed an especially close bond, with many predicting a similar scenario to occur with Ricciardo’s arrival at the team.
But while the pair have never been at loggerheads, their relationship has never blossomed as expected.
That’s part down to a renewed approach from Norris, the Englishman suggests, which has seem him prioritise his own performances more than he had done previously.
“I think I’m probably focusing a lot more on myself than I have done, spending more time focusing on the important things, the things I really need to focus on, which is my driving and having a performance like I have this year,” the 21-year-old explained.
“A bit of that is focusing on things you really need to focus on in order to do a better job and spending time with my engineers and less time chatting and having fun and things like that.
“Not taking anything away from my enjoyment of Formula 1, I still love it and do everything I want to do, but just a big shift towards the focus on the work ethic side.”
Norris has proved one of the standout performers in 2021 with three podium appearances from the opening nine races of the year.
That’s seen him remain a fixture towards the top of the drivers’ championship, currently holding down fourth but just three points shy of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
He’s also overshadowed Ricciardo, who joined the team with a fearsome reputation off the back of his seven grand prix wins.
However, Norris suggests the pair have a strong working relationship, even if it is different to what he enjoyed with Sainz during his first two seasons in F1.
“We still have good laughs and we’re still good mates and everything, but one simple thing is our interests away from the circuit are very different,” the Brit said of his relationship with his Australian stablemate.
“He’s more into his making wines and in clothing and things and I’m more into golf and eSports and those kinds of things, which Carlos was a little bit more into.
“We would play golf every now and then and we would be on the sim and race each other and do things like that.
“So one simple thing of becoming better mates is, I guess, spending time together and enjoying yourselves and stuff.
“Playing golf was one of those things which made a lot of things better.”
After a tough opening to his stint with McLaren, Ricciardo sits eighth in the drivers’ championship with less than half the points tally of his team-mate.
That has sparked rumours over his future in the paddock, despite holding a contract that runs until 2023.