Lando Norris has insisted that he would be able to compete with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen for Drivers’ Championship titles if he was given a car with the ability to fight for Grand Prix victories on a regular basis.
Norris has long been hailed as one of the brightest talents in the paddock but is yet to win a single race since making his debut in the sport back in 2019.
The 23-year-old’s hopes of claiming his maiden victory will seemingly be on hold for the foreseeable future, with McLaren having endured a turbulent start to the campaign with one of the worst-performing cars on the grid as things stand.
However, he still believes that he would be more than capable of fighting for wins and even titles alongside Hamilton and Verstappen with the right machinery underneath him.
“A bit of it is where do I believe I’ll be best and when do I believe I’ll be at my best,” Norris told The Race. “I feel very confident now that if I was in a position to go up against Max [Verstappen] and Lewis [Hamilton], I’m not the kind of guy to ever say I’m confident I will easily be able to go out and beat them.
“But I believe I’ll be able to battle against them and be a contender against them for a championship. I believe that even more so for ’24. And I believe that even more for ’25.”
Norris went on to issue a reminder that Verstappen himself was nowhere near the finished article for many years prior to his first Drivers’ Championship triumph in 2021,
with the Dutchman gaining a reputation for his hot-headedness and tendency to crash often during the early stages of his F1 career.
“If you see Max from where he was a few years ago, he was a guy who did make a lot of mistakes,” added Norris. “He crashed a lot. Everyone was saying how much all over the place he was and look at him now, how composed he looks, how professional he looks.”
It remains to be seen whether Norris will eventually come forward as a genuine title contender, with the Brit tied down to McLaren until the end of the 2025 season as things stand.
He raised plenty of eyebrows around the paddock when he signed his current deal at the beginning of last year, especially given the reported absence of a break clause,
but he remains adamant that it was the right decision to put pen to paper in spite of McLaren’s struggles in recent months.
“it was just to give me confidence,” he explained. “Because generally, it was something I struggled a lot with, just having that clarification of will I be here in three years’ time, four years’ time, five years’ time?
“Having that stability and the confidence in myself that the team wants me to be here for another four or five years, that’s something that helps me a lot. I feel like I deal with all of these things better now than I ever did. That also allows me to work at my best.”