Lando Norris believes Daniel Ricciardo’s struggles at McLaren can be attributed in part to their different driving styles, preferring different characteristics from their cars.
Norris has out-performed his McLaren team-mate for the most part in 2022 so far, with Ricciardo having struggled to get to grips with the MCL36 so far.
Ricciardo’s future with the team has come under the spotlight as a result of his lack of form this year, but he affirmed his commitment to racing at McLaren next season, fulfilling his contract.
Norris has been able to get on top of the car faster than his team-mate, and he admitted he took a significant period of time to adapt on his side of the garage, but he elaborated on how the two drivers differ in terms of natural style.
“I struggled at the beginning of the season probably with my driving style a bit more than what Daniel struggled with initially in the first few tests, and I feel like I had to adapt quite a bit,” Norris said, quoted by Formula1.com.
“Some of my feelings are not translated to his feelings. And how we drive the cars is slightly different as well; I prefer a car with – I don’t mind as much instability from the car and kind of can push on the fronts more, and he prefers a car that is a bit more stable and made with a little more understeer.”
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Norris acknowledged that the McLaren this year is a tricky car to master, with adaptations needed from a driving point of view to be able to make the most of the car’s potential.
“I do feel like it’s a difficult car to drive, our car,” Norris admitted. “You know, I think our characteristics which he’s also had over the past few years, even Carlos [Sainz] said it, they’re quite specific and unique so some of the driving styles you need are like not ones you kind of grow up learning, and therefore you have to adapt quite a bit.
“Especially this year, the car’s very different, and some of the characteristics of last year are gone and we’ve introduced some other characteristics, so I’ve had to change my driving style. At the same time, I’ve also had to adapt to it. It’s not just because I’ve been with McLaren for four years that I know this car inside-out.”
Norris has scored 64 points in the first half of the season, with Ricciardo struggling behind on 17 for the year so far.
The curious case of McLaren in 2022
McLaren have had arguably the biggest peaks and troughs of the year so far, in terms of how varying their performance has been.