Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Lando Norris confident of cutting Verstappen’s Formula One lead
F1 Sport

Lando Norris confident of cutting Verstappen’s Formula One lead

Lando Norris believes he and his McLaren team remain very much in the Formula One world championship fight with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The reigning world champion has also acknowledged they pose a threat to his title ambitions.

Norris took his debut F1 victory in Miami and at the following round last weekend at Imola put on a late charge to hunt Verstappen down and was within seven-tenths of a second of the Dutchman at the chequered flag. The Briton was convinced he could have had a shot at passing him for the win with one or two more laps.

The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, and the Mercedes principal, Toto Wolff, agreed Norris is now a contender for the title and before this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix the 24-year-old was optimistic the gap to Verstappen could be bridged.

“I am 60 points behind Max so it’s a long, long way to go,” he said. “We have definitely put ourselves in there. We lost a lot over the first couple of weekends so that’s hurt us, but we are still a third of the way through so there are plenty of opportunities. We have things coming in the future and if things turn around we can easily start to come back at some of the teams.”

Norris also pointed out how strong he believes the team are, as well as the pairing with his Australian teammate, Oscar Piastri, who finished fourth at Imola. “Along with Ferrari, we have two cars up there performing at every single session, in every single race, in qualifying,” he said.

“Look at the rest of the grid, they don’t really have that. They have one guy who is putting in a mega lap and then has a good race and then the other one not is not. One of our strengths is we have two cars up there and we can fight well. If we keep doing that for sure we can stay in it.”

McLaren brought a series of enormously successful upgrades to Miami and they have moved the car to the front of the grid, potentially now the closest challenger to Red Bull. Verstappen who has won five of seven races this season acknowledged the threat was real.

“They are really in the mix,” he said. “They are quite a few points down at the moment but if you suddenly start winning, things can tune around really quickly. So we keep trying to improve our package.”

Norris remained circumspect about his chances this weekend, waiting to see how the car performs on the unique challenge of the Monte Carlo streets but said that while a win would be welcomed here, the one he really wanted was the British Grand Prix.

skip past newsletter promotion

“I would rather win Silverstone because I would rather win my home race than win in Monaco,” he said. “I still want to win in Monaco. The one that would mean the most but Monaco is one you always want to tick off at some point.”

Lewis Hamilton, who began his career with McLaren and took his first F1 title with them, also praised Norris and welcomed the resurgence of his former team.

“I don’t think he needs any tips. He’s doing a great job. I also think Oscar has done a great job as well but has just been a little unlucky in the last couple of races,” he said. “I am excited to see both of them progress but mostly for McLaren, to see them up there, it warms my heart because it feels such a long time ago that they gave me my break.”

Source: theguardian.com