Norris on McLaren team orders flare-up: ‘I’m not going to say anything’

McLaren duo Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were not allowed to battle for position at the 2022 Azerbaijan GP.

For the first time since the Miami Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo finished ahead of team-mate Lando Norris at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Ricciardo crossed the line at the Baku City Circuit in 8th, whilst Norris was right behind in 9th.

However, it wasn’t as simple as that with team orders being needed to keep the pair from battling.

At separate stages of the race both wanted to overtake one another, with Ricciardo initially having the stronger pace at the beginning of the grand prix.

The pair were on different strategies, with Norris starting on the Mediums whereas Ricciardo was on the Hards.

Norris was initially the lead McLaren on track, however, Ricciardo behind asked if he could be let past after believing he had better pace.

The team refused, something they also did in the final few laps when Norris asked if he could pass the Australian.

In the end both played the team game, as McLaren scored six crucial championship points.

Ricciardo addressed the situation post race, where he explained how the “favour got returned”.

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“I mean at the beginning of course I was feeling like I could attack and obviously wanted to, but had to obviously obey and control myself,” Ricciardo said.

“But these are things also we talk about before the race so it’s not a shock or a surprise. But then yeah, I think with two or three laps to go, I was told that we were going to hold position. So I guess the let’s say the favour got returned.

“So yeah, we’ll probably talk more about it now, but happy to be back in the points and [with] both cars I think on a weekend where we struggled with overall pace as a team. We’re happy with that,” concluded the 32-year-old.

Norris was more frustrated on the radio than the Australian, especially late on in the GP.

The pair were stuck behind Fernando Alonso, who’s top speed down the 2.22km main straight was unmatchable.

READ: Russell reveals why Hamilton had to give him a tow in Baku

The Brit wanted to be moved ahead of Ricciardo, so that he could attempt to pass the Spanish driver.

The team again refused, just as they did earlier in the race when Ricciardo wanted to overtake Norris.

Norris said that he “understands” why it was done, however, the British driver believes that the pair “need to race”.

“The end is just racing for pure position,” Norris explained.

“It’s not like he let me go or whatever. I think there’s one lap before I boxed that he would have passed me, so I understand that but at the same time we need to race and I think we know that.

“I’m not going to say anything because it’s fair I think what we did. Just to end the race, you want to race to finish and wouldn’t matter if it’s eighth or ninth.

“But as a driver you just want to be that further ahead position so it’s quite simple, but I think there’s a small difference between what happens in the middle of the race and just fighting for a finish position when there’s no risk at the end.

“So yeah, the team did a good job. I’m happy with that. So nothing to complain about.”