Lando Norris believes he and Carlos Sainz are “playing the long game” by working together and enjoying a close relationship as teammates at McLaren, helping advance the team further up the grid.

Norris made his F1 debut in 2019 with McLaren alongside Sainz as part of an all-new line-up for the team.

The pair struck up a friendly and fun relationship off-track, and helped lift McLaren to fourth place in the constructors’ championship, marking its best season since 2012.

Speaking at Autosport International, Norris said the chances were “slim” that he and Sainz would get on as well as they did, but felt the common goal of pushing McLaren forward meant they would not work against each other.

“Everyone always gives the view that because you’re teammates, you’re always so much against each other and you’re just pure rivals,” Norris said.

“I want to say we’re both kind of looking at the longer game that if we want to achieve what we want to achieve, which is to win races and win championships, the best thing is to work together.

“We wouldn’t have finished P4 in the championship as a team if we didn’t work as well together as what we did last year. A big part of what we have achieved is because of how we worked together, how we helped each other, how we try and help the team.

“Because if we were just against each other, we didn’t help each other, we wouldn’t have been P4 in the constructors’, and quite frankly, we wouldn’t be in as good of a position as we are going into this season.

“At the moment, it’s only benefitting us in every way. I hope it continues. Like I said at the beginning, I just want to have fun and enjoy it, and he does as well.

“I think that’s the first time two drivers have been able to show that, and I think that’s why it’s been able to come out so well.”

 

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