McLaren’s drivers had a very different start of the season; while Norris had a strong charge throughout the first half of the 2021 season, managing to score 3 podiums, Ricciardo struggled to adapt to the MCL35M.
But that has been changing and we saw the results of improvement in last weekend’s race in Monza. Ricciardo had a strong start, leading the race followed by his teammate and both scoring an unlikely P1 and 2 for McLaren.
This result also brought helpful points for the constructor’s championship third place, which McLaren is fighting for against Ferrari. The race in the temple of speed brought the fight gap to 13.5 points in favor of the papaya team.
According to motorsportweek.com, Norris sees Rocciardo’s improvement and better feeling of the MCL35M as a benefit for both drivers and the whole team.
“In terms of what he can do on track now compared to what he could do a few months ago he’s definitely a lot closer, for sure,” said Norris.
“It’s also good for me in a way, as much as I hate it because you want to beat anyone in any circumstance! It’s only going to push me more, push the team more, help us as a team in the Constructors’ as well.
“We’re racing Ferrari, who have got two extremely good drivers, to beat them week in week out… it’s been a tough first half of the season for us when Daniel has been struggling that little bit, but now he’s come through a bit more.
“I think he’s showing what he can do and what everyone knows he can do, and the reason [why] he came to McLaren. It’s only going to be better for all of us.”
The Brit driver added that McLaren’s strong performance during the three days at Monza gives the confidence that it is not just a “fluke”.
“Definitely a good amount of it was improved performance,” he said.
“Carlos [Sainz] was on the podium last year so we were confident we could have a good one – maybe not expecting the outcome we had but we expected a potential podium, a chance to be ahead of the Red Bull or Mercedes and we thought we could take it.
“Daniel led from the start, we were in these positions [on merit], that’s why it’s more we deserved it [than luck], we were there on pace, where Daniel put the car, where I put the car.
“That definitely makes it cooler, more earned, and gives us that confidence to go in the future.”