Lando Norris denies ‘mind games’ with Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren

Ricciardo and Norris wave to fans in Hungary  (Getty Images)
Ricciardo and Norris wave to fans in Hungary (Getty Images)

Lando Norris insists there are no “mind games” at McLaren and he is only concerned with helping his struggling teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Norris has proved consistently quicker than Ricciardo during their time together at McLaren and the gap between the young Briton and the experienced Australian has never been clearer than this season, where Norris has 76 championship points and Ricciardo only 19 at the summer break.

While Norris is now signed to a long-term contract with the team, Ricciardo’s future remains in doubt. But Norris insists he is determined to help his teammate contribute in McLaren’s fight to finish fourth in the constructors’ championship ahead of French rivals Alpine.

“Mind games? In what way?” Norris told reporters. “What mind games can I play? No, it’s the opposite. I’m trying to help him as much as I can. It’s for the benefit of us as a team, to try and beat Alpine at the end of the day.

“[Ricciardo] sees everything that I see in terms of data and everything. I’m offering more help than what I normally would, let’s say. If we were fighting for a world championship, I’m saying more things than maybe what I would do. That’s what we need for the team, it’s what I want for the team at the minute. So yeah, the opposite of mind games, whatever that is – mind soothing!”

Norris is proving himself to be one of the most talented young drivers around but is not able to compete with the likes of championship challengers Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, who drive quicker cars in Red Bull and Ferrari respectively. Yet the 22-year-old Briton insists he is still committed to McLaren.

“I love it there, always want to be quicker, I always want a quick car, but I knew what I signed up to of course. I knew it was going to take some time, I’m not expecting this year that we’re going to be winning and scoring podiums every weekend. We started and probably still are a little bit behind where we really wanted to be this year, but we’re making some progress and that’s always a good thing to see.”

The season gets back under way after the summer break with the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August.