A McLaren yearbook at the end of last year has been revealed, and it features messages from Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.
The British side headed into the 2021 season with their fourth driver pairing in six years as Ricciardo headed over to the McLaren technology centre (MTC) from Renault.
He replaced Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz, who had helped the Woking-based side to third in the Constructors’ Standings, beating Racing Point in the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi.
It started relatively well for the Australian as he out-qualified Norris in the opening round in Bahrain, but the pace deficit between the drivers became apparent as the season wore on.
The 22-year-old would win the qualifying battle 15-7, and he out-raced Ricciardo by the same score, finishing the season two positions and 45 points ahead.
Norris would also claim four podiums to his team-mate’s one, and secured a remarkable pole position for the Russian Grand Prix.
There was heartbreak at the end of that race for Norris though, as a strategic mistake in changing conditions lost him the victory.
But McLaren’s crowning moment arrived before that in Monza. Ricciardo grabbed the team’s first win since the 2012 season, as Norris completed their first one-two since 2010 in second.
In a year full of difficulties for the Aussie, he had a memorable afternoon in Italy to look back on, as he reflected in his end of year message to the team.
“The highest of highs and some pretty testing times,” he said.
“This is the stuff I live for and thank you for being there with me from day 1. I’ve bloody loved it.”
Norris’ message was a more jovial poem, and he joked that he had allowed Ricciardo to claim his eighth career in in 2021.
“I came here to win,” said Norris.
“But this year I didn’t (I let Daniel),” he joked.
“I saved it for next year
“And that’s all I’ll hint
“The team’s worked their ass off
“And we gave it our all
“So be proud of yourself
“And remember to stand tall
“We are all a family
“And next year we will be better
“Let’s rise to the challenge
“And we’ll be the pace setters
“Now we have a break
“And enjoy some time off
“With friends and family…”
He then ditched the poem and jokingly told the team they’d better make the most of their last break for a long time.
“Because next year you ain’t having a break, not all year, not even for summer.
“You better start sleeping at MTC until we get some more metal angles trophy things that we can put in the cabinets!!!
“See you all soon, I know you can’t wait.
“The clock is ticking. Don’t be late, or you’re fired!”
Norris has added a further rostrum appearance to his tally this season by finishing third in Imola, while Ricciardo has managed a best finish of sixth in an underperforming MCL36.
The British side currently trail Alpine by four points in the battle for fourth in the Constructors’ Standings.