Replacing Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren, Lando Norris has urged his new team-mate Oscar Piastri to not only push him forward but also the team.
Despite being partnered with a multiple grand prix winner in Ricciardo in 2021, it’s Norris who was McLaren’s star driver in their time together.
The Briton not only out-qualified the Aussie but he also had the better pace on grand prix Sundays, although it was Ricciardo who claimed McLaren’s only win as he led Norris home in a 1-2 at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.
That, though, was the highlight of the Honey Badger’s stay, the negatives outweighing the positives to the point McLaren and the driver opted to part ways two years into his three-year contract.
Ricciardo has been replaced by his compatriot Piastri, the rookie making his debut in what is expected to one of the more interesting team-mate tussles of the season.
Norris is hoping it’s a close one with Piastri pushing him to be his best.
“The reason Oscar is here is to push me more, is to push us as a team more, that’s why he got brought into the team,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.
“So absolutely, I think that’s going to help us as a team. It’s going to force me to push the limit maybe that little bit more.
“It’s actually something I was doing last year, but it might just be that he’s able to push me more in different areas of my driving and that should only be able to help us take a step forward as a team, and to also score more points as a team by the end of the season.
“But also, personally there’s still a lot of there of things that I want to be able to improve on separately, which can help me move forward at the same time.”
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As one Australian replaces another on the grid, and as Norris’ team-mate, the Briton says he hopes to see Ricciardo back on the grid one day.
Despite interest from Haas, the eight-time grand prix winner decided he’d rather spend this year’s championship on the sidelines as Red Bull’s reserve in what he hopes will be a year in which he rediscovers his love for F1.
“What was very good about Daniel was his experience of being a driver who’s won races,” Norris said. “Who’s achieved a lot in his career or Formula 1 and everyone rates as extremely high or rates as one of the highest drivers and one of the greatest in previous years.
“Big shoes to fill for for Oscar but at the same time I would love to see Daniel on the grid just because he’s a very talented driver. He’s a guy that everyone everyone loves, for many reasons.
“He always makes races exciting, and especially when he was with Red Bull in the past when he had a car which was capable of putting on a good show, then he was able to expose it and make the most of it.
“It’s not my decision, it’s up to him to try and do it. He’s obviously a lovely guy so from a respect point of view I would love to see him back on the grid.
“And yes, he’s a smiling face around the paddock every now and then. But otherwise, I’ll see him this year and see what he can do.”