Jolyon Palmer believes that Lando Norris's supreme form in 2021 has a lot to do with having Daniel Ricciardo as a teammate.
According to the former Renault F1 driver - who now works as a broadcaster and pundit - Ricciardo joining McLaren has forced Norris to improve his racecraft in all areas in order to compete with a proven winner.
"Norris seems to have hit a new level this season and we can see evidence of that not only by Norris’ own performance but also in the way that Daniel Ricciardo is struggling in comparison, in the other McLaren," Palmer wrote in his latest column for F1.com
"Ricciardo is a proven race winner with Red Bull, we know what he can do and he showed that skill also when he switched to Renault, leading the team back to the podium last season, comfortably ahead of Esteban Ocon.
"For whatever reason Ricciardo is still struggling since his switch to McLaren though and despite a few false dawns – in Barcelona and Paul Ricard – it seems he still has a lot to find to get on to terms with Norris after consecutive Q2 exits in Austria."
The young British driver was fairly evenly matched against former McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz - who now occupies the second Ferrari seat.
However, a significant upturn in results in 2021 for Norris has attracted the attention of the entire F1 world, as Ricciardo looks significantly off the pace compared to his young rival.
"Norris looks like he’s had a hard winter, got his head down and has found a new level of performance, and it looks to me like he is taking things more seriously now as the team leader," Palmer continues.
"We are seeing fewer jokes or songs on the radio from Lando and in turn we are seeing more results on the track. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but to me it looks like Lando is more clinical this season. He seems to be extracting more out of himself and has upped his game hugely.
"Possibly, it is the arrival of Ricciardo that has made Lando push himself into this new gear and take his game on, and he’s now becoming a top-tier driver in his own right."