Ocon helped Ricciardo understand the youngsters

Date published: January 9 2021

Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo says that having Esteban Ocon as a team-mate helped him understand the younger generation of drivers.

The Aussie, 31, drove alongside Ocon, 24, for the entirety of the 2020 season at Renault, comfortably getting the better of him in their intra-team battle.

Ocon has spoken of how going up against Ricciardo was a learning experience for him, but the new McLaren driver says that he learnt things from the Frenchman too.

Specifically, about how those on the grid in Ocon’s age range operate.

“I’ve always enjoyed and embraced a new team-mate,” Ricciardo said.

“It’s no secret that they are your first rival. They are always the guy that deep down you want to beat the most because they represent your fairest competition.

“And [Ocon] is a young, hungry kid coming up – a bit similar to Max [Verstappen] in some respects. It’s been an opportunity to learn, and to understand how the younger generation are wired.”
Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris (McLaren)

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Such a lesson could well come in handy next season as Ricciardo gets another young team-mate at McLaren in 21-year-old Lando Norris.

Given he drove alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull, having the younger drivers as team-mates is becoming something of a regular occurrence for him.

He says that it’s something he enjoys, and is pleased with how he’s done against them so far.

“I’ve had good success up until now, but I enjoy the challenge,” he added.

“I think with the younger drivers you see they are pretty quick learners. If I go out and do a fast corner, full-throttle, then in the next session, or on the next lap even, they’re going to do it too, so I like that.

“I like being kept on my toes and it’s forcing me to grow and get better.”

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