Lando Norris has been coy on the prospect of fighting for the Formula 1 championship in 2024 against Max Verstappen, who he regards as “one of the best drivers ever”.

Having opened the year battling to even score points, McLaren has become a regular front-running contender since the introduction of a heavily revised car in July.

The Briton has collected seven podiums, including six second-place finishes, in 2023 and only Verstappen has outscored Norris since the launch of the B-spec MCL60.

However, Norris’ hopes of landing his elusive maiden F1 victory have been stymied by the Red Bull of Verstappen, who has won a record-breaking 17 races this year to date.

Although Norris started from pole position for the Sprint in Brazil last weekend and carved out an overtaking opportunity early in Sunday’s grand prix, he was beaten convincingly by Verstappen in both races.

But with McLaren a match for Red Bull at the beginning of each race stint at Interlagos, Norris was asked whether he believes he can challenge Verstappen for race wins and the Drivers’ title if he’s handed the machinery.

“Maybe,” Norris answered. “I’ve just been just saying to Max, since we bought this upgrade to Austria, I’ve been the second highest scoring driver on the grid. I think we’ve been the second-highest-scoring team, potentially.

“Of course, we’ve taken some massive steps forward and at the same time, considering we’re talking about fighting [against] the Red Bull, I think it’s still a very, very good thing, for what we’ve achieved this year.

“We’re talking about one of the best drivers in Formula 1 ever, in one of the most dominating cars and obviously it’s a pairing and things have to go well together, but we’re talking about a guy who’s scored 17 [wins]… one of the most dominated years in Formula 1 history.

“For us to go from where we were in Bahrain to getting close and talking about fighting a Red Bull I think are very good signs for us. And we know we still have plenty more things to come next year.

“So I’m excited. Having that as a thought, it’s quite a faraway thought. I don’t want to think of that just now, there’s no point thinking of it until next year but I’ll be optimistic and I believe we can do it as a team.”

(L to R): Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in parc ferme with second placed Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. 05.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Race Day

Norris’ fourth top-three finish across the past five races has elevated him above ex-team-mate Carlos Sainz into fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship, only three points behind Fernando Alonso, who also returned to the podium on Sunday in Sao Paulo.

Despite Oscar Piastri encountering a compromised race that ended pointless, McLaren maintain a 21-point advantage over Aston Martin in the battle for fourth in the Constructors’ with two rounds remaining.

Source:  Read More 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *