Unsympathetic Norris surprised by Ricciardo struggles at McLaren

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Lando Norris admits he is "surprised" by Daniel Ricciardo's problems at McLaren.

This week it was confirmed the Australian will leave the Woking-based team after 2022 after both "mutually agreed" to end his contract one year early.

The decision comes after Ricciardo has struggled for results compared to Norris, with the Briton outscoring him by 102 points during their 35 races as teammates.

"I guess I'm surprised because when Daniel came into the team everyone expected more," Lando said via ESPN on the difficulties of the Ricciardo/McLaren partnership.

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"I'm sure himself even, he expected more from himself, so when you look at it that way, yeah I'm surprised.

"It's not me having a dig or anything but when you look at the results... if you want two people to be at the same level then you're not surprised.

"It's hard to know when to call it, I guess, which is what they've done."

Asked whether he had any sympathy for Ricciardo's situation though, Norris was brutally honest.

"I hate to say it, but I would say no," he replied.

"People will probably hate me for saying it but it's difficult because I never know if I might encounter that in the future with this car or with a different team or whatever, so I never want to contradict myself going into the future, but I've just got to focus on my driving.

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"It's not my job to focus on someone else, and I'm not a driver coach, I'm not here to help and do those kinds of things.

"I'm here to perform at my absolute best and that's about it. So it's difficult when people start to have an expectation that it's my job to also do these other things and helping and describing this and doing that when that's not really the case.

"It's also the case that if I don't perform well for a few years then it can also be the end of my career, the end of me driving in Formula One, so I've got to focus on myself for the majority of it.

"Every driver has to adapt to the scenarios that they're in and that's what I feel like I've had to do."

That being said, the 23-year-old insists he has benefitted from working with Ricciardo.

“I’ve still managed to learn a lot from him over the past few years," he explained. "He’s still a guy who’s extremely talented.

"I have a huge amount of respect for him. I’ve also enjoyed working with someone like that, someone who’s won races and scored a lot more podiums than I have at my current point.

“It’s been good, but we still have a long second half of the season to go. We’ll continue working as we have done, to end as strongly as we can.”

Piastri Ricciardo

It is expected that another Aussie in Oscar Piastri will take Ricciardo's seat for 2023, when his current contract situation at Alpine is resolved.

But asked about his teammate, Norris admitted to Sky Sports: “I’m really not fussed.

“As long as it’s someone I can enjoy spending time with, and I can work together with well, then I’m happy.

“I don’t know who [it is] yet, so I just look forward to it. Of course, there’ll be a new challenge, many differences.”