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McLaren allow Ricciardo and Norris to "battle it out on track"

McLaren allow Ricciardo and Norris to "battle it out on track"

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McLaren allow Ricciardo and Norris to "battle it out on track"

McLaren allow Ricciardo and Norris to "battle it out on track"
Ewan Gale & Sam Hall

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has ruled out favouring one driver over the other confirming Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris will be free to do battle on the track.

Seven of the 10 teams on the Formula 1 grid have made changes to their respective driver line ups over the winter with only Mercedes, Alfa Romeo and Williams sticking with their 2020 drivers.

This year pre-season testing lasted for only three days, meaning each driver had just one and a half days of seat time ahead of the first weekend of the year.

Asked if Norris would be prioritised whilst Ricciardo continues to assimilate into the McLaren, Seidl answered: "Within the team, it is clear we treat both drivers the same.

"I do my job, we do our job as a team if we make sure we give both guys the same opportunities to do well on track and to battle it out on track.

"That is the philosophy we have in the team, I think it is working well. It is very encouraging to see so far how Daniel and Lando are approaching this new chapter together."

Ricciardo joined the team to replace Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz after the Spaniard forged a successful partnership with Norris in a two-year spell that saw McLaren return to competitive ways - the team ending last year third in the constructors' standings, its best position since 2012.

Seidl added: "I have said several times that I am absolutely convinced we have got a very strong driver line-up again this year.

"We wanted to get Daniel on board because of what we have seen from him in terms of speed in qualifying and how he is racing.

"He is the reference we have been missing in the last two years. He has shown in the past he can win races if we give him the right material which, I guess, is important for us to take the next step as a team.

"He will be a reference for Lando. Lando is going into his third year and we expect him to take the next step when he already made a step from his first to his second year. What I have seen from Lando is very encouraging."

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