Lando Norris was “shocked” that Carlos Sainz signed with Ferrari, but wasn’t surprised that Daniel Ricciardo will be his replacement.
The 2020 season is yet to start but already we enjoyed a barmy spell in the driver market which was kicked off by Sebastian Vettel announcing that 2020 would be his last year with Ferrari.
Sainz was swiftly announced as his replacement for 2021 and beyond, while Ricciardo then took the McLaren seat that he will vacate.
Norris was shocked that Vettel called an end to his time with Ferrari, and also that his current McLaren team-mate Sainz will be the four-time World Champion’s replacement.
“It wasn’t so much of a surprise of Daniel coming to McLaren, but I think the bigger surprise was Carlos leaving McLaren for Ferrari and Vettel leaving Ferrari,” Norris told Motorsport.com.
“I guess it was a bit of a shock, especially because no one really expected Seb to do what he did and not to sign with Ferrari again.
“I think as soon as Seb didn’t sign, then you knew something was going to happen. Everyone seemed quite firmly in place with their teams because no one was really expecting it.
“I guess something of a surprise was going to happen, and obviously Carlos went for it and got the seat. Fair play to him, I’m happy for him.
“But I don’t think the Ricciardo thing was as much of a surprise, because obviously I knew that McLaren wanted him back before the 2019 season, so I knew he was on the radar.
“After McLaren did better than Renault last year, maybe it would have changed his mind of what he did.”
Norris is looking forward to going up against a driver like Ricciardo who currently has the race-winning experience that Sainz doesn’t.
“He’s got the experience of winning races, and that’s something that Carlos didn’t, although Carlos is an extremely good driver,” said the Briton.
“Daniel’s obviously just got that bit more experience with working with those top teams and knowing what’s exactly needed to win races. So his mentality of that side of things is something that’s going to be different from what Carlos had and I think.
“I’ve never spent two years in any category apart from my first years of karting, and now this is my second year of F1.
“Staying in it and working with a different team-mate is the first time I have been in this situation, so I don’t really know what to expect, I think it’s still relatively new for me.
“He’s got the experience of working with a race-winning team and he knows what’s needed from them. Learning from him on that side of things I think is the most valuable part.
“He can also bring a lot to the team and obviously help the team improve as well. I guess we’ll find out next year.”