Lando Norris responds to ‘number 1 driver’ claim as Daniel Ricciardo prepares to leave McLaren

Lando Norris will have a new team-mate for 2023, with 2021 F2 World Champion Oscar Piastri replacing Daniel Ricciardo.

Lando Norris has been without a doubt the star performer at McLaren since he was joined by Daniel Ricciardo in 2021, with the 22-year-old having consistently beaten the former Red Bull driver.

Norris has made the Australian look like a fool in 2022, with the British driver currently seventh in the Drivers’ Championship on 88 points.

Ricciardo, on the other hand, is embarrassingly in P14 in the standings, on a woeful 19 points.

Apart from his magnificent victory at last season’s Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo has failed to deliver the speed and performances that the Woking-based team would’ve been hoping for when they signed him for 2021.

READ: Lewis Hamilton explains why he is ‘quite happy’ with Mohammed ben Sulayem

With such a large gap in performance between Norris and Ricciardo, it’s easy to see why many see the Brit as the team’s No 1. driver, which arguably, he is.

However, Norris continues to deny this, with the Quadrant founder remaining adamant that himself and the Honey Badger are equals at McLaren.

Norris was asked if the team prioritise one driver over another during a GP weekend, a topic that the Brit labels as “overrated”.

“This discussion is overrated,” Norris said, as per Motorsport-Magazin.

Article continues below

“I see far too much talk along the lines of ‘they only care about this driver and they don’t care about the other driver’. It’s not just for us, it’s for every team.

“I love it when people think they know what they are talking about when in reality they have no idea. Sometimes the complete opposite is the reality.

“Before every single race we have a meeting where we go through how we can work well together as a team. It’s about how we don’t work as number one and number two.

“Daniel can help me in certain situations and I can help him sometimes. We have that discussion every weekend.

“It’s literally the opposite of a division of roles with number 1 and number 2 drivers. It’s about how we can work better as a unit to have better results at the end.”

Norris will, of course, be partnered by a new team-mate for 2023, in the form of 2021 F2 World Champion Oscar Piastri.

Piastri will without a doubt be eager to beat Norris, with the Brit being the senior driver in the team for the first time in his F1 career.

Piastri will be Norris’ third F1 team-mate, following Carlos Sainz and Ricciardo.

Despite Ricciardo departing the team very shortly, McLaren are continuing to treat the pair as equals, with Norris explaining that the team have “no priorities”.

READ: Max Verstappen’s manager will ‘wait for the facts’ amid money laundering scandal

“There are no priorities,” Norris said.

“I get a new part one weekend and then Daniel gets a new part the next weekend. It’s completely fair.

“Maybe the other teams work in different ways. But as far as we’re concerned, that’s not the case at all.”