EXCLUSIVE: Ricciardo on how ‘phenomenal talent’ Norris compares to Verstappen

Daniel Ricciardo believes the only thing standing in Lando Norris’ way to becoming an F1 world champion is having a car to match his “phenomenal talent”. 
EXCLUSIVE: Ricciardo on how ‘phenomenal talent’ Norris compares to Verstappen

Norris, who is one of the hottest prospects on the F1 grid, turned in a brilliant performance to finish second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix, further underlining the hype around him. 

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The 23-year-old Briton led the opening five laps at Silverstone after passing Verstappen at the start, before impressively fending off Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages, despite being on a set of cold hard tyres. 

Norris has already caught the eye with several impressive displays since making his F1 debut in 2019, including outperforming Ricciardo during their two-year spell as teammates at McLaren.  

Ricciardo is one of only two drivers on the F1 grid (the other being Carlos Sainz) to have gone head-to-head with both Norris and Verstappen in the same machinery.

Asked how the two compare, Ricciardo told Crash.net: “There’s no doubt that Lando is extremely good. 

“I think it’s one of those ones where he’s certainly, at least what I felt the car was capable of, he was always getting the maximum out of it. Something obviously I struggled to do at McLaren. 

“So I look at that and I’m like ‘ok, this kid is maximising everything he’s got’. Most times it would translate. 

“If he went to a top team it should translate and he goes again to the level of the car. I’m sure he would be quick in a top team. I don’t have any doubt about that. I think he’s proven himself. 

(L to R): Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren and team mate Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19,
(L to R): Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren and team mate Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)…

“What Max is doing now is phenomenal, and it’s like what Lewis did, can you win week-in, week-out regularly and can you handle that pressure and the rest of it? 

“I hope for him he one day gets the chance to be in a car that can fight for wins. But do I think that he can’t handle that? No. I’m sure he can. Until we win… We all believe we can do it, but you gotta do it… But I think he’s a phenomenal talent. 

“Comparing him to Max, it’s hard because did Lando put in some amazing quali laps? Absolutely. Were they as good as anyone on the grid? Probably. But obviously Max has done that as well. 

“I think there have been days where he obviously looks as good. But to draw a like for like comparison, it’s tough. But I think he’s very, very good.” 

And eight-time grand prix winner Ricciardo is convinced Norris has what it takes to become a world champion. 

“I think you’ll know when he gets his first win,” he explained. “Once he crosses that, or climbs that mountain, I think a lot of people will be like ‘ok, this kid can go all the way’. 

“Obviously he hasn’t got the win yet but he’s young, I think he’s still going to learn and keep growing, maturing. So I have no reason to say he won’t. 

“It’s just unless he never gets a winning car - that’s the only thing that will probably stop him. I think he’s got all the ability to do it.” 

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