McLaren did had quite a job during the winter break, changing engine suppliers, but have managed to carry on their strong form in 2021.
While Daniel Ricciardo’s struggles to adjust to his McLaren were expected, as he arrived in a new team, Norris’ ones came out of the blue. The young Briton admits he feels like he is not driving at his best and wants to improve a lot, as he does not feel completely at ease in this year’s single seater.
“This year the car is different, and there are different things on the car that you have to drive in a different way, - he says, waiting for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix - I'm still learning a lot now, with every race that we do, about the car. I would say Monaco was my best qualifying that I've done, but I made mistakes in previous qualifying and races because of not knowing about the car enough.”
“I'm still learning a lot of things and, especially in Bahrain, for example, and in the first couple of races of the season, I was driving it too much like last year's car and I had to adapt a lot to this year's car. – he adds, - So there are definitely a lot of differences and it's not been easy-going from last year, the last two years, to this year."
So many differences can confuse a driver, and the Briton has still some difficulties in finding the best way to drive this car, because he keeps following the previous years’ style. Therefore, he is not exploiting the new car’s potential at its fullest .
“I can't just drive it the same way and then just be a better driver," he said. "I've had to adapt to a lot of different things, and I still can't necessarily drive it the way that I want to, as a preference from how I drove in Formula 3 and Formula 4 and things like that. – he says - I can't drive it the way that I want. So a bit of it is just you have to adapt, and every car in F1 is different and you have to get used to it."
Daniel Ricciardo is trying to overcome these struggles working on the simulator – “I did spend a good few days on the sim last week, and it was really just trying to take a step back and understand what's going on, and let's say how the car works and what kind of needs to be done to get the car working well”.
“In a way I kind of - I don't want to say started from zero because I've definitely learned a bit the first few races - but just had more of an open mind with my approach. We just tried lots of different things and even things that don't feel, let's say, correct. We'll try them and then understand why that doesn't work. - the Australian added - So we just played around a lot. And certainly some things now do seem more clear to me, and I think it was really productive to do that. So I'm just looking forward to putting it in [action]."