Ricciardo finished fifth for McLaren while Carlos Sainz, who was stuck behind the Australian for the latter part of the race, ended up seventh.
While most people would say acquiring Daniel Ricciardo is key to Mclaren’s future success, Lando Norris is the real key.
Norris is 20, has plenty of time to improve and has driven in the Mclaren for two years, which should make him the number one driver as he knows the driving strategy and team chemistry.
Ricciardo will be driving at his third team and, at 31, we have seen with many older drivers’ reactions become slower and they lose pace.
In Tuscany, Ricciardo was poor in defending his third-place finish. Norris, on the other hand, drove through adversity to keep Mclaren in the points.
He is a competitive beast but Norris has a similar mentality to Lewis Hamilton, which is to drive in a zone – no distractions and a calm and cool head.
“I don’t think we had enough pace to really do much more,” said Norris after the Grand Prix, in a show of his maturity.
Once Norris is in that zone, no one stops him.
Norris attacks the contest and drives the car with awareness to fight – similar to Pierre Galsy in taking risks.
Importantly, Norris brings a fun environment and, at Mcrlaren, this is much needed as it provides the perfect atmosphere. Look at Richmond in the AFL – having a bit of fun keeps the team happy and calm.
Finally, Norris is contracted to the 2022 season, which is proof he is the future of this historic team which has produced some of the world’s best drivers.