Ex-Red Bull driver questions whether Daniel Ricciardo is truly over Lando Norris ‘kicking’

Henry Valantine
Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull garage. Melbourne, April 2023.

Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull garage. Melbourne, April 2023.

David Coulthard has questioned whether Daniel Ricciardo is yet over the “psychological scars” of his time alongside Lando Norris at McLaren.

While the pair got along jovially away from the track, Norris was often the dominant force between the two McLaren team-mates, coming out on top for the majority of their two years together.

Ricciardo took the one race win they earned between them at Monza in 2021, with Norris coming home behind in second, but the level of Norris’ performance saw McLaren end his contract a year early, prompting a return to Red Bull as third driver for 2023.

David Coulthard: Daniel Ricciardo ‘got a bit of a kicking’ at McLaren

Former Red Bull and McLaren driver Coulthard believes it will take time yet for Ricciardo to get over his time at McLaren, with the Australian himself having admitted to struggling mentally in his lowest moments with the team.

But news arrived on Tuesday that he will be back on the grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix, replacing Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri after just 10 races as the under-fire Dutchman makes way for the rest of the year.

The move has been seen by some pundits as a way for Red Bull to potentially ratchet up further pressure on Sergio Perez, who has dropped 99 points behind Max Verstappen at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.

Perez is on an unwanted streak of no Q3 appearances in the last five races while driving the fastest car on the grid, with Verstappen having won each of the last six races this season.

“Well look, he’s got to get back to basics,” Coulthard said at the weekend while discussing Perez and his current issues on Channel 4, before the conversation turned to the Red Bull reserve turned AlphaTauri driver, prior to the news being confirmed.

“[Perez] has got a lot more going on in his life, a lot of the time he goes back to Mexico. He’s got, what, two, three, four kids, you know, that must be challenging when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep when you’re back home as well.

“And he was giving it the big talk at the beginning of the year when he was in brilliant form, giving it ‘Yeah, I can win this World Championship.’

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“Well, that seems like a distant memory. By qualifying performances, he’s got to nail it in Hungary, otherwise the pressure is going to build and then Dr. Marko and Christian Horner are going to have to start looking at who’s the young driver that can come in.

“You know, they’ve got Daniel Ricciardo in the wings, but would you want to come back? Daniel Ricciardo alongside Max Verstappen?

“He got a bit of a kicking from Lando Norris in the last couple of years, so I’m not really sure the psychological scars have healed from that one.”

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