Norris wanted to pass Ricciardo but was “happy to stay in second”

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Lando Norris said that he was happy to come second to team mate Daniel Ricciardo, to secure the result for McLaren.

Norris out-qualified Ricciardo on Friday but fell behind him in the sprint qualifying race, so started third on the grid behind his team mate. Ricciardo was able to pass Max Verstappen for the lead at the start, while Norris ended up second after Verstappen collided with Lewis Hamilton.

Having fallen behind Charles Leclerc, Norris passed the Ferrari driver at the restart to claim second. He and Ricciardo stayed ahead for the rest of the race, crossing the line for the team’s first one-two finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

Norris said it was a “pretty awesome weekend” for the team, who last won a race in 2012.

“Four years ago I joined the team and we’ve always been working towards this and we got a one-two finally. So a good step for us. I’m happy for, of course, Daniel getting the win and me in P2. I’m just happy for the team.”

Norris was heard on the radio asking his team if he should hold position or race Ricciardo. He told Sky he never considered going against the team’s instruction for him to hold position.

“I’m not going to lie, my priority is the team. I’m here for the team, I’m here for the long-term and for our future this was the best result we could have,” Norris explained. “There’s always that desire inside to want to go for it.

“I think I had the pace to at least try. I can’t say if I would have got Daniel or not, but I could have tried at least.

“I just asked the team what do you want me to do, can I go for it, can I not? And as much as, inside, I wanted to go for it, I was just as happy to stay in second because I’m a team guy, I love the team.”

Norris joined McLaren as a junior driver in 2017, when the team’s fortunes were at a low. “I love them, I’ve grown up with them, in a way,” he said. “So this is the best result I could hope for.”

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2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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13 comments on “Norris wanted to pass Ricciardo but was “happy to stay in second””

  1. Good thinking: “For the team.”

  2. Wishing is one thing but I doubt LN would have been able to

    1. Agreed. I actually think the radio message was a bit of a cheeky “I could have won” message when in reality i really think there was not way on earth Norris had the pace to pass Ric.

      Max couldn’t so no idea why Lando thought he could.

    2. Once Daniel turned up the wick, it didn’t look possible, agreed. If he’d held his tire-conserving pace and Lando hadn’t, it would have been more interesting.
      I think the team dynamics were fantastic there this weekend. “Daniel should speed up”. Daniel speeds up. “I could race him”. Hrm, not at likely at that point. But Lando was fair, maybe a bit cheeky, but played the team game well. His turn will come.

  3. In the first stint Norris could not keep up with ricciardo so I doubt he could have just blown past ricciardo if given the chance.

  4. Lando’s time will come. In the meantime, good job to the whole team!

  5. I get it. He’s a bit sad it was Ricciardo that took the race win and not him. He wouldn’t be human if he didn’t feel that.

    But just be happy you got second Lando and don’t try and pretend you had a chance here. Ricciardo was driving like it was Monaco. Fast enough not to get overtaken, but slow enough to make sure he didn’t wreck the tyres, brakes etc and take unnecessary risks.
    1 : Earlier in the race when Ricciardo said he was on the limit with Max following him, he opened up a 6 second gap to Lando.
    2 : In the last lap of the race, when they both went for fastest lap, Ricciardo was 0.159sec faster than him. This is despite the fact that Lando had the benefit of Ricciardo’s slipstream. In qually that was worth 0.5sec/ lap. I assume it would be less in the race, but Ricciardo clearly had the pace on him.
    3 : Verstappen was in a car 1sec/ lap faster than Ricciardo and could not get past. Lando had no hope.

    I get it. You are disappointed. But don’t try and pretend you could have beaten him if McLaren had let you. You got beaten fair and square. Learn from it and move on.

    1. Calm down buddy:

      “I think I had the pace to at least try. I can’t say if I would have got Daniel or not, but I could have tried at least.”

  6. Happy for Ricciardo, not thrilled with Lando coming on the radio to promote to his team that Daniel was not quick enough when he clearly was from the very start. Suggests Lando would like to pull a card within the team to assert that he is the presumed number 1 driver and should be given preference when that should not be the case given the conditions of the Monza race. Entitlement???

    1. Or maybe he felt that he was in danger from Perez, Bottas etc so just ensuring that there was no drop off in pace to increase the treat from behind, it worked Ric upped the pace ( think he had message that there was no need to save tires and go all out to end of race ? ) then Lando went with him so keeping well away from the chasing cars …

    2. Ecstatic for a McLaren 1-2. Just as note – Ricciardo’s radio was released. At lap 33(with Lando in 2nd -0.9S behind)), they told him pace was good, and he asked them if he “should keep Lando close” and they said keep pace as is till the end. Obviously to keep him in DRS range and stave off a potential attack from Perez/Bottas with a DRS train. Lando, to his credit probably didn’t know what the strategy was on the Dan’s side, hence his comment about speeding it up at lap 35 with Perez close behind him. Once Daniel was told to speed up, his pace increased and he was consistently up more than a second up on Lando. Obviously – clean air helped, but he was also on older tires. The engineers for both drivers worked together here.

      I think McLaren executed strategy perfectly, both drivers had perfect drives and both should be equally praised for their 1-2. Lando’s time will come, and he may well need Daniel’s help to get there. It’s why its a team sport. Both performing well, at the front of the grid is what they both need to succeed.

  7. I really like the idea of drivers comitting to their teams long term.

    Lando is a true McLaren driver by now – they’re the only team he has raced for in F1.
    Charles is truly a Ferrari guy and will be for the foreseeable future.
    Max and RedBull are also unseparable.

    Reminds me of the relationships that other iconic drivers have had with their teams, e.g. Clark at Lotus, Schumacher at Ferrari, Senna/Häkkinen at McLaren, Lewis at Mercedes, etc.

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