Lando Norris says he has had to adapt his driving style to race the MCL35M in 2021, with Daniel Ricciardo’s feedback offering the Briton a different perspective to what he has been used to.
Ricciardo joined the McLaren F1 Team in 2021 in place of Scuderia Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz Jr. after two years with the Renault DP World F1 Team, and Norris has already benefitted from the Australian drivers input.
Norris says the MCL35M needs a different driving style compared to its predecessors from 2019 and 2020, and Ricciardo’s way of driving is better suited to it in places than the way Norris was using.
“Although Daniel is new to the car there are some differences with the car this year and how you have to drive it,” Norris is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “At points his driving style is better for it and is more suited for it.
“How we’ve had to drive the car the last two seasons is kind of going away in a good way. That’s something I need to adjust to a little bit because the car is different this year.”
Norris says he had been ‘punishing’ himself by using his usual style, so to adapt was the only way he was going to improve behind the wheel of the MCL35M. The Briton claimed an excellent fourth place in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix after making the necessary changes.
“I feel like I’ve had to drive too much like the past couple of years. Especially in qualifying that had negative effects and it isn’t as good,” said Norris. “I did a good job [in qualifying] but I feel like I’m punishing myself with some of the things I’m doing with the car.
“After understanding some more I felt like I could already put it into practice [in the race] and I felt like I was gaining in those areas that I was losing out on.
“There’s room for improvement from my side, more in understanding how to drive this car,” he continued. “Not just how to learn from Daniel because I don’t think that’s the point of it, but still focusing on myself in terms of race pace, an area which wasn’t very good a couple of years ago.
“I felt like I really did a good job so I’m very happy with it.”