Most Formula 1 teams are articulated around a name, a driver who leads the project and on whom most of the expectations are focused. The helm at Mercedes is led by Lewis Hamilton; Red Bull goes out of their way for Max Verstappen; Alpine has given itself to Fernando Alonso and Ferrari expects everything and more from Charles Leclerc. Each team has its own horse, which is how runners are popularly referred to by their trainers. Despite the high-profile hiring of Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren’s is undoubtedly Lando Norris, a true devil with an angel face.
In his third season in F1, this boy born in Somerset (Great Britain) only 21 years ago has become the best of the rest, of those who see very far how Hamilton and Verstappen go towards an unattainable level. At the gates of the fourth stop of the calendar that is celebrated this Sunday in Montmeló (15.00, Movistar F1 and Dazn), Norris is third in the statistics after accumulating a podium (Imola), a fourth position (Bahrain) and a fifth ( Portugal).
Despite being the second youngest member of the grid, only surpassed in that respect by Yuki Tsunoda (20 years old), Norris is at a “colossal” level, as defined by Hamilton himself at Imola. Ricciardo has so far lost all the duels with his garage neighbor, a true out of series with a steering wheel in his hands, be it that of a conventional car or that of a video game, a terrain in which he raises as many or more passions than in F1.
If Verstappen is rage, Norris is laughter, one of the best claims the World Cup has today. He is someone who disarms you, who first crushes you and then comforts you. And all that with overwhelming naturalness and honesty. Few are those who, as he did, dare to acknowledge their weaknesses in order to send a message of hope to people who have problems that they do not know how to get out of. “In my first season in F1 it could seem like I was the new kid in the world. paddock; someone who exuded confidence and enthusiasm. But it was not the case. I hid that I suffered a lot of anxiety and nerves, ”Norris revealed in a letter posted on the McLaren website.
“Despite having fulfilled a dream, I saw myself questioning myself: I doubted if I really had to have it, I compared myself with my partner and with other pilots. […]. But in sports, as no one wants to show the slightest hint of weakness so that others can take advantage of it, it is not talked about as much as it should be ”, added the twenty-year-old, who since then has not stopped growing until reaching his best version of always.
“In my first season in F1 I could seem like someone who was overflowing with confidence. But I hid that I suffered a lot of anxiety and nerves “
“I think I’m driving better than ever. I am much more confident than in 2020 and in my F1 debut (2019). When Red Bull and Mercedes make mistakes, if we do everything well we can finish in front of them ”, he commented a few days ago in reference to the test in Imola, where he crossed the finish line (third) ahead of the Mercedes squires (Bottas) and Red Bull (Pérez), a real machado.
McLaren is almost a miracle. Overcome the darkest stage in its history, Woking’s structure has followed the same positive inertia as her wonder boy. A drift that last year brought him to third place in the classification reserved for constructors, his best result since 2012 (he was also third). Now there is also the third, with 11 points of margin over Ferrari, which seen what is seen is a little below. And that the British manufacturer faced this winter a change of engine (from Renault to Mercedes) in the worst circumstances, under the magnifying glass for being the only team authorized to touch the chassis in order to anchor the new unit of power.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.