Ricciardo feels ‘extra pressure’ because of Norris’ new McLaren contract

Daniel Ricciardo's current McLaren deal runs until the end of 2023, while his team-mate Lando Norris has a contract until 2025.

McLaren F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo insists that he is not feeling the heat at the Woking squad as he looks to secure a drive beyond the end of 2023.

The Australian signed with McLaren at the end of 2020 to replace Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz, and partnered Briton Lando Norris last season.

The Briton comprehensively out-performed the 32-year-old in both the qualifying and race battles, eventually finishing two championship positions and 45 points clear of Ricciardo in 2021.

The 22-year-old also scored four podiums, but it was the now eight-time race winner who would capture the team’s first win since 2012 at the chaotic Italian Grand Prix in September, leading Norris home for their first 1-2 since 2010.

Norris recently signed an extension on his current deal that will keep him at the British squad until at least the end of 2025, but Ricciardo maintains that there is no rush to expand on his current contract that runs until the end of 2023.

“Time isn’t really an issue, we have time,” he said, quoted by PlanetF1.

“Not that we want it to take five years, but it’s there if we need it.

“I know Lando did the extension, but I have an option there and I feel quite strongly we are in this together.”

Ricciardo has previously stated his affection for the “family” approach at McLaren compared to the “tough love” he experienced at Red Bull, and is eager to justify the team’s faith in him following a turbulent 2021.

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“And even through some of the lows last year I was still…of course, on track it is frustrating, but I was still really enjoying the McLaren environment and the team, so it’s an environment I want to have success in and thrive in,” he added.

Former racing driver Robert Doornbos reckons there is slightly more pressure than that on the Australian, adding that he and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will have a point to prove having been outscored by their respective team-mates last season.

“Another rivalry I am looking forward to is Leclerc and [Carlos] Sainz. Leclerc needs to show Ferrari he is still their future champion,” he told BBC’s Top Gear.

“At McLaren, that’s Lando Norris. He has just signed a multi-year contract.

“You never used to see these contracts for several years, but it seems to be the new trend. You first saw it with Verstappen and Leclerc, and now also with Norris.

“Because of this contract, Ricciardo will also feel extra pressure for his position.”

Following three days of pre-season testing in Barcelona, Mercedes’ George Russell commenced the much-anticipated mind games by suggesting McLaren and Ferrari are the two quickest teams ahead of the new season.