It’s been a strong first half of the season for Lando Norris, despite McLaren having taken a step backwards since the new regulations were introduced.
Last season, Norris was a consistent podium challenger; this year it’s a different story.
With McLaren currently the fifth best team on the grid, Norris has found it difficult to step onto the podium, let alone the top five.
The 22-year-old did claim third at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, in what has been his best performance so far this season.
The founder of gaming and lifestyle brand Quadrant is currently seventh in the Drivers’ Championship on 76-points, almost 60-points more than Daniel Ricciardo.
It’s arguably part of the reason why Ricciardo will be leaving McLaren at the end of the season, with the Aussie set to be replaced by 2021 F2 World Champion Oscar Piastri.
Incredibly, Norris revealed on the latest episode of the Beyond the Grid podcast that this season’s car actually suits his team-mate better than himself, with the Brit having to “cope” with the MCL36.
“We drive in different ways,” said the 22-year-old during the latest edition of the Beyond the Grid podcast. “And therefore what we request on the car is quite different.
“There have been things saying ‘well he (Ricciardo) doesn’t suit the car’ and all of that stuff. And everyone thinks I do suit the car and the car’s made around me and all of that stuff. But it couldn’t be more untrue.
“Not that I hate driving the car I’m driving now. But it’s very unsuited to my driving style.
“And I’ll say in the beginning of the year it suited Daniel a lot more than me in terms of how you had to drive it. And that’s something I really struggled with in the beginning of the season and I’m coping with, or adapted to, a lot more now. And let’s say more well suited to it.
“But it’s far from a car I would want in an ideal world and say ‘if I want to go and do the best lap possible and give me that car to do so’, it’s definitely not the car I have now.
“So there are big differences, I would say, at times, sometimes more similar. But what we want from the car and how we drive it, it is quite different.”
Norris was asked if the car has been developed over the season to suit him better, or if the team have upgraded the car with his Australian team-mate in mind.
“I’ve had to adapt a lot more to the car,” he added. “There’s not a lot the team can do for me, in terms of car – they just make it as quick as possible.
“Like all round, it’s not like ‘Lando said this and we’re just gonna do that’. So I request things and I say the direction I want to go in.
“By no means is it anywhere near more adapted to me than to him. I feel like I’m driving a pretty similar car in terms of characteristics as the car I drove in my first year of Formula 1.
“It’s changed in little ways, but nothing I would say now is more adapted to me than it was in my first year of racing.”
The podcast was released before McLaren and Ricciardo announced they’d be parting ways.