Norris calm about Ricciardo challenge at McLaren: 'More pressure on him'

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Lando Norris isn't concerned about going up against a proven Formula 1 race winner in Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren.

The young Briton has largely impressed during his first two years on the grid, highlighted by claiming a maiden podium at last year's Austrian Grand Prix.

But now Norris has the chance to firmly cement himself as one of F1's top youngsters alongside the man who was Max Verstappen's benchmark for several years at Red Bull.

However, asked about the challenge of facing Ricciardo at the launch of McLaren's new MCL35M this week, however, the 22-year-old somewhat played it down.

“I don’t think the arrival of Daniel will make it any harder for me,” he said.

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“I worked with Carlos [Sainz] 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 1 for longer and he has to come in and perform very well," Lando added.

“It is harder for someone to go up against a much younger driver than it is for a younger driver going up against someone with more experience.

“I am in that earlier phase of my career but I still need to perform very well, and there are no excuses for me anymore.”


Norris has made the point that he hopes to learn from Ricciardo during their potentially three-year partnership at McLaren, but notes its too soon to fully assess his strengths and weaknesses.

“In terms of how and where he’s going to push me, it’s difficult to know until we get into the proper pre-season test and we get into the first race," Norris claimed.

"That’s when everything comes alive a little bit more and people show their true colours.

“So, I don’t have an exact answer for that yet but I’m sure it’s going to be basically every area he’s pushing me and hopefully I will be pushing him, too, so that is the aim."

And while many believe the much more experienced Ricciardo will be the defacto lead driver, Lando won't take that as a given.

“I have more responsibility on me now than the past few years to lead the team,” he said. “It is a big opportunity for me to take up that lead and I will work very hard on doing that.”