Laughing as he sits down ahead of the first Formula One presser of the year, Daniel Ricciardo already looked comfortable alongside his new team-mate Lando Norris in his debut season as a McLaren driver.
The Aussie made the break away from Renault at the end of 2020, after two years with the team, forming the ultra-talented driver line-up with Brit Norris, with many expecting plenty of laughs from the dynamic duo.
Fans were understandably excited when the announcement was made, remembering back to 2019, where the Aussie had Norris in tears of laughter during a press conference after a question about facial hair.
There have been many other instances showing how well the pair got on, and of course many examples of Norris and his former team-mate Carlos Sainz Jnr joking about in the paddock too.
However, Ricciardo has admitted this season we shouldn’t expect a comedy show with Norris, with the nine-time race-winner stating he’s more focused on racing ahead of the new season than cracking jokes.
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“I’m excited, I’m definitely excited,” explained Ricciardo.
“Confidence, I’ve probably never been too shy of, but of course you can talk about it, but the nonsense stops. There’s normally another word for that, but the nonsense stops on track.
“For sure this weekend is the first sign to really see where I am, where the team is, and where everyone else is – and where we stand.
“I feel preparation has been key. Obviously it’s a new team for me, a new environment but I feel comfortable, and I feel like we got up to speed pretty well a couple of weeks ago.
“So yeah, ready to get down to it now.”
Norris meanwhile, agreed pre-season testing had been quietly positive for the team.
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“I would say more [confident] than last year. Prominently because of it just being my third season in Formula One so each year gaining that little bit of confidence, having a better plan of attack every season, especially to start the season.
“I feel good, I’m ready to go.”
Last season, McLaren really turned things around finishing third in the constructors’ standings, their highest result finish since 2012.
This season, with Brit Norris and Ricciardo, they’re looking to build on their performance with their Mercedes engine rather than Renault.
“I think we’re working well together, I think we have similar comments,” continued Norris, speaking to Express Sport.
“We have different ways of saying things, and he has a lot of experience of working with different teams and working with Red Bull and Renault, so there’s a different perspective on things which is good.
“We’re in line with what we want from the car, where we want to improve the car, and the team and everything, which is crucial we can work in one direction.
“I think we’re working well together, we’re pushing each other which is good and I’m sure we will be able to do that over the race weekend.
“We’ll see, still early days – we’ve just been testing so it’s not been anything serious. We’ll get into qualifying and the race this weekend and we’ll see a little bit more of what we can do as drivers, and I’ll get to know a little bit more about him. So far, so good.”
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