It’s been a mixed first half of the season for the McLaren F1 Team, who enter the summer break with one driver exceeding expectations, and the other rapidly falling behind.
Lando Norris has once again delivered the goods for McLaren, in a year where they’ve fallen off the progress they made in 2021 to catch the top three.
The British team have made a step backwards, with them currently sitting fifth in the Constructors’ Championship having fallen behind the Alpine F1 Team.
Despite this, Norris is currently ‘best of the rest’ in the Drivers’ Championship, after a consistent run of results so far in 2022.
His best result came at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where he claimed McLaren’s only podium of the season so far.
On the other side of the garage, Daniel Ricciardo is a man on a downward spiral.
The Australian, who has performed somewhat better as of late, currently occupies P12 in the Drivers’ standings, having scored just 19 points.
Norris, on the other hand, has scored 76.
It’s led to reports that Ricciardo will be offered a large fee to terminate his contract with the team and leave at the end of 2022 rather than the end of 2023.
He’s set to be replaced by Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri, who has been involved in his own contract saga.
With Norris performing so much better than Ricciardo on a Grand Prix basis, it’s led to accusations that Norris has been playing “mind games” on his team-mate, something he profoundly denies.
“Mind games?” Norris questioned the media.
“In what way? What mind games can I play?
“No, it’s the opposite,” Norris said.
“I’m trying to help him as much as I can. It’s for the benefit of us as a team, to try and beat Alpine at the end of the day.”
It appears that Norris is doing everything he possibly can to aid Ricciardo’s improvement, after revealing that the 33-year-old is able to see all of his data.
The British driver explained that he’s sharing more of his own data with Ricciardo than he usually would for a team-mate, highlighting Norris’ desire to get the team higher up in the championship.
“He sees everything that I see in terms of data and everything,” the Brit explained.
“I’m offering more help than what I normally would, let’s say. If we were fighting for a World Championship, I’m saying more things than maybe what I would do!
“That’s what we need for the team, it’s what I want for the team at the minute.
“So yeah, [it’s] the opposite of mind games, whatever that is – mind soothing!”