McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that he did not want to “force” a friendship with Lando Norris after the anticipation of their relationship as team-mates.
Having enjoyed frequent jokes with each other in 2020 and famously, in the British Grand Prix press conference in 2021, Norris and Ricciardo were confirmed as McLaren’s driver line-up for the 2021 season, sparking jubilation among fans.
The Australian endured a difficult season though and, perhaps conversely to what many were expecting, he was out-qualified 15-7 by the 22-year-old, finding himself out-raced by the same score.
As a result, Netflix attempted to spin a storyline that Norris was lauding his advantage over the former Red Bull driver by placing an emphasis on his “sympathy” comment, but Ricciardo insists that he has a good rapport with his team-mate – he just needed a bit of time to get to know him.
“I felt like a lot of people probably wanted us to be best friends from day one,” he said in an interview with Channel 4.
“And it was something that we couldn’t really force and it did take a bit of time to really create a good relationship.
“But in saying that, there wasn’t tension or anything, it was just that we were trying to figure each other out.
“Currently where I sit today, I think we have a very good relationship.”
Max Verstappen has refused to take any further part in Netflix’s Drive to Survive docuseries due to the “faked” rivalries they often try to portray.
Before Season Four was released, Ricciardo affirmed that the addition of Netflix has had a positive impact on the sport despite the manipulation of stories, such as the one between the Australian and Norris last year.
“You rarely see emotion. You’re sitting in these rocket ships and we’re wearing these helmets so for the most part you only see us wearing a helmet,” he told Ariel Helwani.
“So you don’t really see much emotion. So getting back behind the scenes already is going to do wonders.
“And I think like anything when you follow someone’s personal life or family life or what they do away from the racetrack, it’s easier for people to get invested so it had a double-impact I think.”
Ricciardo managed his first points of the 2022 season last time out at his home Australian Grand Prix, finishing sixth just behind his team-mate, helping McLaren up to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.