'Don't know': Teammate at a loss over Daniel Ricciardo's F1 battle

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·Sports Reporter
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McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris says there is little more he can do to help Daniel Ricciardo acclimatise to his new team, mid-way through the 2021 season. Pictures: Getty Images
McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris says there is little more he can do to help Daniel Ricciardo acclimatise to his new team, mid-way through the 2021 season. Pictures: Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo's F1 teammate Lando Norris says there is little more he can do to help the Australian driver get to grips with the tricky McLaren.

There are just 12 races left to run this season when the F1 season resumes at the Belgian Grand Prix on August 29, leaving Ricciardo with limited time to extract more from the McLaren.

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The Aussie star has been thoroughly outpointed by Norris so far this season, with the British young gun third in the drivers' standings compared to Ricciardo in 9th.

While Ricciardo can point to some bad luck for his lower than expected points tally, Norris has simply had more pace, more consistently throughout the season.

The McLaren engineers have admitted their car needs to be driven a certain way to extract the best out of it, Norris said at this point there was little more he could do to help Ricciardo get up to speed.

“I don’t know where else I can help,” Norris told Motorsport-Total.com.

“I tell him what I feel, he has all my data, he can see everything I do, I describe things very well in the debriefings and what I do.

“I’m not going to lie, but at the end of the day it’s not up to me.” 

Earlier in the season, Ricciardo joked about an encounter in the paddock with his McLaren predecessor Carlos Sainz, now at Ferrari.

“I bumped into Carlos, I don’t know when it was, not too long ago and he said, ‘What do you think? Strange huh?’,” Ricciardo said leading up to the Monaco GP in May. 

“I was like, ‘Thanks for telling me’.”

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Ricciardo needs to start bringing home more points as McLaren looks to beat heated rival Ferrari to third place in the constructors' championship.

McLaren broke through after several years mired in the midfield to claim third in the 2020 championship, aided by a lacklustre Ferrari team hindered by an underpowered engine.

The Italian manufacturer seems to have put their power troubles behind them in 2021 though, leading McLaren by just one point in the constructors standings before the summer break. 

Norris and Ferrari ace Charles Leclerc have made regular appearances on the podium so far this season, meaning Ricciardo's performance will come under more scrutiny is his is unable to maximise his opportunities before the end of the season.

Daniel Ricciardo has struggled in his first season with McLaren. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo has struggled in his first season with McLaren. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Norris said it was crucial that Ricciardo get a handle on the car sooner rather than later.

“Of course I want him to do well because that’s what we need for the Championship,” Norris said.

“We want to beat Ferrari and for that he has to do well, but I can only do something to help him to a certain extent.

“Ultimately, he’s a different driver. And I drive differently. Every driver drives differently than anyone else in the world. And what he feels is different from me, and what I feel is different from him.”

For his part, Ricciardo admitted earlier in the year that he had struggled to come to grips with the new machinery.

“I think it’s the first time I’ve consistently found it difficult,” Ricciardo told Speedcafe.

“For sure over the years you have bad weekends, and even you might have two bad ones on a trot, but then you kind of get it right where I feel like it’s been definitely more bad, or more or less impressive than good.”

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