Daniel Ricciardo hints at Lando Norris favouritism at McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo has hinted that teammate Lando Norris receives different treatment to him at McLaren.

It’s been a season to forget for Daniel Ricciardo. With his contract to be terminated at the end of the season, the Australian will be replaced by his younger countryman Oscar Piastri for 2023.

Having not finished on the podium this season and with multiple finishes in the bottom 5, alongside DNFs, it’s no surprise that McLaren boss Zak Brown has decided to make a change.

Ricciardo firstly credits Lando Norris for his achievements this season but claims the fact that the Brit has only driven for one team has worked in his favour.

“One, I’ll never take credit away from him – the kid’s good. There’s no denying that. And if I say he’s not, then I’m just being a bitter, sore loser,” Ricciardo said in an interview with The Race.  

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“The second is, ignorance is bliss. And I’m not saying he’s got no knowledge of racecars, not at all.

“But it’s the only F1 car he’s driven. There’s been variations of the McLaren but he hasn’t driven for another team. So in a way he has got, I’m sure, used to some of the elements of this car.”

This season there has been a 72-point difference between the pair and although he credits Norris, Ricciardo has hinted that there might be some favouritism within the team in favour of the young Brit, who is tied down to a long term contract with the team.

“We have so much data, and I’ll watch Lando’s onboards as well. And I’ll see sometimes what he’s able to do, and I’m just like, ‘OK, I can see it, but I can’t do it’. And I’m like, why won’t it just rotate, or do that?”

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Ricciardo fails to see how such a gap can occur between two driver for the same team, especially considering the undoubted quality of the Australian, without some external factors,

“Even in debriefs, you’ll hear from Lando ‘oh this stint of the race, I could really feel the car was working there, it kind of came alive’ where I’m just like … I never had that feeling.

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“At times, I’m just like, something’s up. This isn’t normal.”

This will not be a feeling that is new to the Australian, with his departure from Red Bull in 2018 being put down to the fact that he felt Max Verstappen was being looked on favourably by the team, as they saw his as the future.

With Ricciardo unlikely to take one of the seats remaining at Williams or Haas, it remains to be seen if the Aussie fan favourite returns to the grid in 2024.