Daniel Ricciardo had to “swallow my pride” to allow Lando Norris past, a move that ultimately played a role in McLaren’s first podium of this season.
With the Safety Car out early in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the McLarens were running inside the top six with Ricciardo fifth, just ahead of Norris having overtaken his team-mate on the opening lap.
Ricciardo held onto P5 at the restart on lap seven and spent several laps ahead of his team-mate before McLaren told Ricciardo they needed him to let Norris by as they were losing ground to those ahead.
Norris told the McLaren pit wall: “I have a lot more pace in me, I can’t use it at the moment. I need clean air.”
Shortly after, Ricciardo was told: “We want to swap positions, we need to see Lando’s pace in clean air.”
Ricciardo let his team-mate through with Norris’ very first lap in clean air some three seconds faster than the Aussie’s.
Norris raced his way to third place, bagging McLaren’s first podium of the campaign, with Ricciardo P6 on the day.
📻 "We need to see Lando's pace in clean air"
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 18, 2021
The former Renault driver concedes his best “wasn’t enough” on the day.
He told Sky F1: “I think that’s where I’ve got to swallow my pride.
“I honestly think the team were fair enough, they gave me time to try to show my pace.
“There were some laps where I had a bit and could kind of do a decent time, and to be honest where I did push I did start to kill a bit the right front [tyre] so they gave me the time required to show what I had.
“Today it wasn’t enough, so I’m not going to get into any fisticuffs, it was fair enough.”
Norris praised McLaren for the job done at Imola, saying the team worked hard to improve their pace over the course of the weekend.
“On the whole I’m very pleased with myself and the team as well,” he said.
“We improved the car a lot over the first couple of days from Friday into Saturday and through the sessions and so on. We didn’t start on the best foot, but we improve a lot.
“I was disappointed yesterday [after qualifying when his P3 time was deleted] so to come back to third today after a pretty eventful race for myself and I’m sure the others as well was rewarding for myself but more importantly the team.”
Norris left Imola third in the standings with Ricciardo P7. McLaren are also third in the Constructors’ Championship.