McLaren young gun Lando Norris has taken a thinly-veiled swipe at his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, seemingly questioning why it is taking him so long to adjust to his new car.
The Australian has struggled in his first season at McLaren since moving from Renault and is ninth in the drivers’ standings, way behind Norris who sits third overall.
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Ricciardo’s best result so far this year is fifth place at the British Grand Prix and while he has had solid results in Austria, France, Spain and Italy, he has only finished ahead of his teammate on one occasion.
The 32-year-old has made no secret of his desire to improve in the second half the season, but is yet to master the complex nature of the McLaren.
And how his younger teammate has expressed his surprise at Ricciardo’s difficulties in adapting to his new car.
Norris said it’s “interesting” other drivers in their first year at new teams such as his former McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz (now at Ferrari) and former world champion Fernando Alonso (at Alpine) have taken to their new cars like fish to water, but Ricciardo hasn’t.
“I know it’s not easy (for Ricciardo), but I didn’t have an experience like his one, switching cars one time, again and again. So I can’t judge,” Norris told Sky Italia.
“It’s interesting noticing as other drivers like Carlos at Ferrari are already back on the pace, Fernando as well with Alpine.
“I thought Daniel too would have been back on the pace at this time, but he’s not far (away).”
However, Ricciardo is remaining optimistic he can turn his form around and is taking a long-term view to his time at McLaren.
Earlier this month McLaren CEO Zak Brown said the British team should be well-placed to challenge for the championship in 2024, once it has all its infrastructure up and running at its UK base in Woking.
This includes the team’s new state-of-the-art wind tunnel to help testing and aerodynamics, which is due to be ready for use in 2022.
“I think it’s always dangerous to pick a point in time in which you should be going for it,” Brown told Motorsport.com.
“What I will say is we will have caught up by 2024 with all of our infrastructure, most specifically the wind tunnel.