Daniel Riccardo has found himself at McLaren in the unusual situation of playing second fiddle to his teammate, but the Aussie insists he’s enjoying being pushed by Lando Norris as he continues to get to grips with his car.
In France, Ricciardo finished P6 after a solid drive, just one spot behind Norris, equaling for the third time this season his best result year-to-date with his new team.
As the only driver on the grid to have scored points at every race this season, Norris stands fourth in the championship’s standings with 76 points while Ricciardo sits P9, or 42 points behind.
“He’s certainly very good,” Ricciardo said in France last weekend, assessing his teammate’s performance.
“So far he’s had a very, very strong start to the season, he’s had a bunch of top fives, obviously with a couple of podiums.
“He’s really showing strong signs to be a top driver. He’s certainly pushing me. It’s what I like, I enjoy it.
“You certainly always want to be the top dog but it’s good for me to learn, push and keep bettering myself.”
Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer reckoned that Ricciardo’s French Grand Prix was the Aussie’s best display to date with McLaren, noting the latter’s feisty and more confident demeanor.
“This was a race where Ricciardo was closer to his best again,” Palmer told Formula1.com.
“He seemed to have confidence in the car, and we were getting the old Ricciardo radio messages indicating he was right up for the fight.
Read also: Norris to ‘discuss’ with Ricciardo aggressive French GP move
“Ironically, because he was the first McLaren in the opening stint, he ended up having arguably the tougher race, doing more overtaking early on as Norris followed him past Fernando Alonso, and Leclerc pitted before Norris had to overtake him.
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“Ricciardo’s charge also prompted his own early stop as he undercut Pierre Gasly, forcing him into a longer, more perilous final stint,” added Palmer.
“But he managed it to perfection, with his most complete drive for McLaren thus far.”
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