Norris and Ricciardo mindsets reflect contrasting McLaren fortunes

McLaren rued what might've been at their home race but Lando Norris' confidence isn't reflected by Daniel Ricciardo


You didn’t need to watch the 2022 British Grand Prix to assess the contrasting fortunes of both McLaren drivers at their home race – just listening to their respective post-race interviews gave a tell-all insight on their headspaces leaving Silverstone.

The contradictory tones ring clear from the off – Norris upbeat after securing his sixth-place finish and looking optimistically towards Austria, Ricciardo struggling to find anything positive and hoping for the ‘quick fix’ that’s so far eluded him in 32 races for McLaren.

When you’re talking to reporters and the fifth word out of your mouth is ‘sad’, it’s a pretty clear indication of where a driver’s head is at.

He was quick to point out the DRS failure that cost the Australian an extra pitstop and meant he couldn’t attack the field post-safety car, but added that he struggled for grip throughout the race.

That’s in addition to a disappointing wet qualifying on Saturday that underlines he’s still struggling to understand his McLaren.

Whilst not in the top echelon of rainmasters on the grid, in times gone by the conditions would’ve provided an opportunity for the Australian – just look at his second-ever F1 win.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo during 2022 British Grand Prix qualifying REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

But it just threw up more barriers at Silverstone, Ricciardo was able to escape Q1 at the death but couldn’t dial in quick enough in the second part of qualifying before the rain worsened making it impossible to improve.

Stark contrast to ex-McLaren driver

The contrast to Carlos Sainz, who he replaced at McLaren, was painfully stark.

The Spaniard went through growing pains in the midfield with Renault and lost his seat to Ricciardo at the end of 2018, but turned over a new leaf at Woking that set him on the path to celebrating his maiden victory at Silverstone.

Maybe Ricciardo needs that change – he signed a ‘multi-year’ deal starting in 2020 which he believes will see him stay in papaya until 2023, but McLaren insist that’s not cut and dry and they could part ways sooner.

Whatver the situation, Ricciardo will be hoping and praying for a better time next week in Austria. But it’s worrying that he’s looking towards the Red Bull Ring more in hope than expectation.

“Honestly this year I have no idea, it’s been so up and down, I can’t predict anything this year,” Ricciardo told reporters after the 2022 British Grand Prix.

“Today was not a good race and certainly struggled, I hope to find reasons for that, if so I think we go into Austria a bit more confident, if not then hopefully we’ll just put it on track there and find that we have more grip than we did today.”

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo at the 2022 British GP. Credit: McLaren F1 Team

Norris feeling positive for Austria

Like his teammate, Norris had higher expectations for Austria, but sees it as building off his Silverstone progress.

Nearly a full second faster than Ricciardo in the race, Norris also looked back on what might’ve been as McLaren lost out to Alpine for the third race in a row.

It was a wise decision not to fight Hamilton early on in proceedings and that looked to have paid off as he sat fifth and managed the gap to Alonso up until Esteban Ocon’s retirement closed things up.

“P5 was where we should’ve been,” Norris told reporters post-race.

“We just made the wrong call for the pit stop and we should’ve boxed on the first lap to put the softs on.

“So not only did we allow him to box on the soft, we allowed him to get ahead of us. It was like a double-loss from our side.”

But whilst there are similarities in the words from each driver, the tone was as different as the weather from Saturday to Sunday.

Norris was upbeat and issuing his words more as a challenge to his team, and that really came through when asked about his chances at the Red Bull Ring.

“It’s been a lovely track for me, very rewarding in the past,” Norris added.

“We have six cars ahead of us which are quite a bit quicker but we’re on par roughly with where the Alpines are – especially this weekend, this weekend we’ve been very strong.”

McLaren driver Lando Norris on the grid at the 2022 British GP. Credit: McLaren F1 Team

Thanks to Norris’ podium at Imola, McLaren are still ahead of their French rivals in the constructor’s championship whilst the Brit holds the ‘best of the rest’ seventh place in the drivers’ championship.

For him it’s a case of keeping on keeping on and hoping the pace continues to come, Alpine should be strong in Austria especially with their power unit but it’s clear Norris thinks there’s something there.

But Ricciardo needs to rediscover those reasons to be cheerful – or the countdown will start on his time with McLaren.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for and in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -


Carlos Sainz during practice for the 2024 Spanish GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Carlos Sainz hits out at Lewis Hamilton over unpunished Spanish GP move

Carlos Sainz believes Lewis Hamilton should've been given a penalty for his overtaking move that forced the Ferrari driver...
Max Verstappen during 2024 Spanish GP Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen warning to Red Bull and demands improvement

Max Verstappen demands Red Bull improvement as another tough race saw the reigning world champion have to really work...
Start of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

LIVE F1 Spanish Grand Prix 2024 – Reaction as McLaren mistakes costly as Verstappen...

Welcome to Total-Motorsport’s F1 live coverage of the Spanish GP 2024. Held at the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, today’s race...
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton brushes off furious Sainz after Spanish GP incident

Lewis Hamilton risked angering Carlos Sainz after claiming the Ferrari driver "left the door open" to overtake him during...
Lando Norris of McLaren after the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Lando Norris: McLaren easily had the best car at Spanish GP

Lando Norris believes Spanish GP victory should have been his as McLaren had the best car in Barcelona, but...
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Christian Horner warns of Norris danger to Verstappen after Spanish GP battle

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner warned that Lando Norris and McLaren are their strongest competitors following a nail-biting...
McLaren team principal Andrea Stella at the 2023 Belgian GP | McLaren F1 team

McLaren chief pinpoints where 2024 Spanish GP was lost

McLaren's team boss they lost the 2024 Spanish GP by Turn 1 as a poor start saw Lando Norris...
Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton on the podium after the 2024 Spanish GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Standings after 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

Max Verstappen showcased his racing prowess at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix, clinching his seventh victory of the Formula...
Lando Norris during the 2024 Spanish GP weekend | McLaren

F1 Fastest Lap: Spanish GP 2024

The Spanish GP Fastest Lap award is given to the driver who posts the quickest time over one timed...
Lando Norris during the 2024 Spanish GP weekend | McLaren

F1 2024 Spanish GP: Driver of the Day

Lando Norris was crowned 2024 Spanish GP Driver of the Day, but couldn't land the biggest prize of all...
- Advertisment -