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Ricciardo explains why he saw his younger self in Norris

Daniel Ricciardo's fortunes at McLaren differed greatly from Lando Norris during their two years together at the team, but he admits that he could see elements of himself in his younger teammate.

Daniel Ricciardo admits that he saw elements of his younger self in teammate Lando Norris during their time at McLaren. The Australian struggled to match Norris in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons and the mutual decision was made by Ricciardo and the team to terminate his multi-year contract early, leaving him without a seat on the grid for 2023. Ricciardo's fortunes in recent times contrast to his earlier success in F1, having claimed three of his eight victories in the sport during his debut season for Red Bull back in 2014 following promotion from Toro Rosso. Looking back on it now, the 33-year-old admits that he was filled with confidence. "I remember I had so much confidence that I was just like, 'If I had the car to win this year, I would have won,'" Ricciardo told the Beyond The Grid podcast. "That was just where I was at. I wouldn't say that was even form, it was just confidence. Obviously I stepped up to the big team, and now I'm playing in the big league, but I just loved it. I just thrived off that. "I guess you go one way or another; you either get overwhelmed by that environment and the pressure is too much so you feel intimidated, or you just soak it all in and just be like, 'This is easy, I live for this stuff'. And that's really how I felt."

Why Norris reminded Ricciardo of his younger self

When asked if he saw that 2014 version of himself in Norris, Ricciardo acknowledged that he noticed similar aspects of the youthful approach. "[I] definitely [saw] some elements of it," he explained. "I think that's ultimately just a young driver coming in and doing well. When you're young, you feel somewhat invincible in terms of... that's maybe too dramatic. But you can just do it. "When I say you can just do it, I'm trying to refer to a night out. At this age now it's like, 'That hurts'. But when you're young, you just go on, you go, you go. "I'm not putting myself in the position where I'm old. But it's more when you're young, you're just carefree. You've got less responsibilities, you're just in and it's working. "You're just going through it and you're like, 'Yeah, sweet. I'll do it again. I'll do it again'. "So yeah, I see where he's thrived off that and in that environment."

Ricciardo reflects on battle with Vettel

Ricciardo is also reminded of his battle with Sebastian Vettel during 2014 at Red Bull, a year in which he outperformed the four-time World Champion. "I think as well, it's bit like with me and Vettel, I don't think anyone was really expecting me to beat Vettel," Ricciardo added. "No one was expecting me to beat Vettel, let's be clear, no one! I don't even know if my dad expected me to beat him! "Just to be clear, I'm not saying I'm better. But I think, coming into McLaren, I would assume that there [were] more people saying I would beat Lando than not. "Then when you're kind of the underdog, and then when you start beating your opponent, then it's like everything's just even easier, so to speak, in terms of you just don't have much to think about." Ricciardo will return to Red Bull as a reserve driver in 2023, while Norris is joined by new teammate Oscar Piastri at McLaren.

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