The bromance is over with Carlos Sainz bidding to McLaren in Abu Dhabi, McLaren putting in a strong final race to pip Racing Point to third.
Lando Norris believes it was the “perfect combination” of friendship and rivalry between himself and his team-mate that did the trick.
McLaren went into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix trailing Racing Point by 10 points.
While the Woking team’s main rivals for third in the Constructors’ standings both celebrated podium results in the final five races, McLaren strung together consistent double points-hauls.
The team in Abu Dhabi, P5 for Norris and P6 for Sainz, gave the team a seven-point lead over Racing Point and third in the championship.
Norris reckons it is his relationship with Sainz that made the difference.
“One of most important things in achieving P3 this year was the combination of good mates and good friendship but also how much we are competitive and how much we want to beat each other,” Norris told the official F1 website.
“When you put both of them together, it’s the perfect combination to get P3.
“There have been a lot of races this year where we have executed things well as a team.
“Between us, we have scored much better results because of that.
“That’s because I respect Carlos, he respects me and we wanted to do the best job for the team. Today demonstrated that perfectly.
“Of course I’ll miss him. We have had a lot of good moments together and fun times and a pleasure to learn from him.”
It's been a year of ups and downs, old tracks, new experiences and everything in between.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) December 13, 2020
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown applauded the team’s season-ending efforts, which came in the wake of news that McLaren have secured a £185 million investment through a US investor.
P3 in the championship, which comes with millions more, is the cherry on top.
“It’s been a very difficult season in the public spotlight, some of our challenges,” Brown said.
“To bring the investment in this weekend, the job Lando and Carlos have done, the job all the men and women have done.
“This is a third place, a true team effort.
“It was a bit stressful on pit wall, it might have looked like a boring race for Lando and Carlos, but it was very exciting for the team.”
Next season McLaren will field Norris alongside Daniel Ricciardo with Sainz off to Ferrari.