One of the best stories to come out of the 2020 F1 season was the resurgence of the McLaren team. The Woking-based outfit recorded their best finish of the turbo-hybrid era by finishing third in the Constructor’s championship.
It was a testament to the improvement that they have had in all the departments. None more so than their driver pairing of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz. While the Spaniard is moving to Ferrari, Lando will share the garage with Daniel Ricciardo next season.
The Englishman out-qualified Sainz 9-8 in the 2020 F1 season. However, his impressive qualifying performances did not always transfer into the race. Ultimately, his teammate beat him by nine points in the driver’s tally. So, McLaren CEO Zak Brown wants him to elevate his level.
“In the race, however, he can do more. This will be his third year. It is clear that Daniel Ricciardo has much more experience than him, but I think the time has come for a qualitative leap.”
During his rookie year in 2019, he was culpable of making a few driver errors. To his credit, he ironed out most of them in his sophomore year.
However, the team has higher expectations of their academy graduate, and they hope that having proven race-winner Daniel Ricciardo by his side can push him to reach a different stratosphere.
“Lando is no longer a rookie, so I expect him to push to the limit throughout the year. And I believe that having Daniel by his side as a teammate can help him in this regard,” said Brown.
Who will win the McLaren team battle – Norris or Ricciardo?
While Ricciardo is a 10-season veteran, he is coming into a different environment. Since teams are carrying over most of their 2020 chassis into 2021, Norris will hold the edge when it comes to familiarizing himself with the car. So, one can expect him to hold an edge early on.
But the Honey Badger can come into his own once he finds a sweet spot with the setup. So, he may outclass Norris in the same way he did with Ocon at Renault. Overall, it will be a spicy battle on the track with plenty of jokes between the two off it.
Read More – Who is Adam Norris: Father of McLaren F1 Driver Lando Norris