‘I’ll be biased in saying that’: Lando Norris opens up on Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo will be replaced by Oscar Piastri at McLaren in 2023, as the 33-year-old failed to meet expectations with the team.

When Daniel Ricciardo moved to McLaren to replace the Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz, many fans anticipated that the Australian would strike up a strong relationship with his new teammate Lando Norris.

The age and experience gap proved a stumbling point for the pair however, as their first year was overshadowed by a slight friction between the two McLaren drivers.

Norris and Ricciardo did eventually become good friends in their second year together but after the Brit outscored his veteran teammate by a massive 85 points in 2022, the team decided to terminate Ricciardo’s contract.

Even though on the track Norris was much the superior driver during the two years that himself and Ricciardo spent together, the 23-year-old has explained that he learned a whole host of lessons from the eight-time race winner, claiming that he will miss having Ricciardo around.

READ: George Russell: ‘That’s a pretty horrendous place to be in’

“It’s been an honour, it’s been a lot of fun,” Norris told ESPN.

“[He is] one of the funniest guys and also nicest guys I would say in the paddock. I have not met everyone but I’ll be biased in saying that.

“I’ve still been able to learn a hell of a lot from Daniel. His approach to racing, his mentality with it all, [you] see in the tough times how he keeps going so strong with it all and has so much belief in himself.”

Ricciardo will return to his former employers Red Bull in 2023 to serve as their third driver, taking part in promotional activities and simulator work for the energy drink giants.

Article continues below

READ: Mick Schumacher opens up on the pressure of being Michael’s son

Although the 33-year-old has the opportunity to remain on the grid next season with Haas, who were on the hunt for an experienced driver to replace Mick Schumacher, Ricciardo suggested that he could not see himself racing towards the back of the grid.

Norris on the other hand will also have Red Bull in the back of his mind, as the team are rumoured to be eyeing up the McLaren starlet should his current employers not make the steps forward that would allow Norris to challenge for championships.

With Sergio Perez set to be out of contract with Red Bull at the end of 2024, it appears that both Norris and Ricciardo will be in the hunt for a race seat with the team in the future, with Ricciardo claiming that his year away from the grid is simply part of his plan to return to the grid with a top team.