Third in the constructors’ championship in 2020, McLaren is the first team to unveil its single-seater for the next season. Now powered by Mercedes and led by the Norris-Ricciardo duo.
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo had actually only just seen the orange and blue single-seater on Sunday evening.
“It’s always special to join a new team,” said the Australian. “But seeing the car for the first time, with its name, is all the more special. ”
The Australian driver was chosen for his impressive performances at Renault and Red Bull Racing, but also to advance Lando Norris, a young driver 10 years his junior. Something Norris appears to be taking quite seriously, in defiance of his reputation over the last 2 years as a ‘bit of a joker’, particularly when associated with former teammate Carlos Sainz Jr.
In fact, Lando Norris says the pressure is on big-name signing Daniel Ricciardo to deliver at McLaren this season and according to an interview with the Press Association, claims that the Australian isn’t really a ‘big step up’ when compared to Sainz. A surprising statement of intent.
“I don’t think the arrival of Daniel will make it any harder for me,
“I worked with Carlos who is an extremely good driver and there are things Carlos is going to be better at than Daniel and vice-versa.
“I don’t believe Daniel is a big step above anything that Carlos has achieved, and there is more pressure on him because he has been in Formula One for longer and he has to come in and perform very well.”
Although Norris clearly is saying that it’s in relation to his challenge against his teammates, it’s a surprising claim for the normally less serious British driver. Perhaps this marks a step-change in Norris’ attitude in Formula 1?
Renowned for his funny memes and silly behaviour off track, especially on social media, the youngster makes clear now that he’s serious these days and says that as of last year he opting against making light of on-track struggles as he may have done in the past.
“On the whole, I would say there have been a lot less times and a lot less things, I guess mainly I post in social media, which are jokey,” Norris told Motorsport.com.
“A lot of that is where it comes from, just what I decide to post post-race. When it’s a difficult day [in 2019], I always took it as a bit of a joke, or portrayed it as a joke with some of my comments on social media and things.
“Sometimes [last] year all I’ve done is [write], ‘tough day in the office, head down onto the next one’. And it’s as simple as that.
Cyril Abiteboul still hasn't gotten the tattoo that was part of last years podium bet with Daniel Ricciardo. A new bet with Zak Brown is not on yet: "Zak mentioned he is afraid of needles. But I know he's got a nice car collection. Maybe we can get a bet on a car."#AMuS
— Tobi Grüner 🏁 (@tgruener) February 15, 2021
“That’s exactly the same thing as what I would do last year, in that I would go to the factory and work on the next race and try and figure out what went wrong. But I’d just post a joke about it on social media.
“People would love that, but also just think ‘oh he’s not doing any work, that’s why he’s not doing well enough, because he is just too jokey’.
“That’s just how life is, I guess, and how social media works, that’s the picture people paint of you.”