Brown: Lando Norris "as fast as anyone on the grid" in F1

Zak Brown believes that McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris is “as fast as anyone on the grid” at the moment, acting as a “great bar” for new teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Brown: Lando Norris "as fast as anyone on the grid" in F1

Norris has finished inside the top five at all but one race so far this season, scoring podium finishes at Imola and Monaco to mark his best start to an F1 campaign.

The 21-year-old’s efforts have helped lift McLaren to third place in the constructors’ championship ahead of Ferrari, while his points haul leaves him fourth in the drivers’ standings.

Ricciardo joined McLaren at the start of the year and has struggled to match Norris’s form thus far as he continues to get up to speed with the team, but managed to follow his teammate home in sixth at Paul Ricard last Sunday.

McLaren Racing CEO Brown was sympathetic to the challenge that Ricciardo had faced when changing teams, particularly with the reduced testing opportunities ahead of the 2021 season. But he was happy with how the Australian was progressing, and felt that Norris was a strong benchmark to have across the garage.

"We mustn’t forget, he had half the testing that we had this year, and we were still trying to learn the power unit in testing,” said Brown. “So what we’re seeing out of Daniel is he’s getting quicker every weekend. His work ethic is great, his attitude is great, and he and the team are just working more closely together.

“So I’m extremely confident that he’ll get to his ultimate pace here shortly. I think adapting to a new car in a COVID era, where you have reduced testing, has certainly not made it easy on him.

“He’s got a teammate who I think is as fast as anyone on the grid. So he’s got a great bar to race against."

Read Also:

Norris made his F1 debut with McLaren in 2019, and is on course for his best season to date, sitting just 21 points shy of his points tally from last year with two-thirds of the season still to run.

Brown explained how McLaren had noticed Norris making big steps with his approach towards race weekends over his two previous seasons, becoming more aggressive without making mistakes.

“Lando has matured really well, he came in as a rookie, and already drove really mature,” Brown said. “If you look at some of the other rookies that came in, they had a lot of accidents. While they showed speed, they got over the limit one too many times. Lando really hasn’t. He’s shown great pace and maturity from the word go.

“Then what we asked him to do last year and this year is to actually be a little bit more on the limit, to almost encourage, it’s OK if you go off every once in a while. And what we’ve seen is he’s sped up even more, gotten his elbows out, but he’s still keeping the car on the track, which is great.

“Now his mistakes are little track limits in Italy, when he was going to be P3. So he’s upped his aggressiveness, his starts, his first laps, but very much in controlled way.

“As you would expect in the first year, would sometimes take a little bit of time to learn the circuit, and the set-up, and would kind of follow Carlos [Sainz]. Now what we’re seeing is Friday, first session, he’s on it right away.

“So we’re extremely happy with how Lando has performed, and we think he’s performing at a very high level.”

shares
comments

Related video

Lewis Hamilton: Talks with Mercedes over new F1 contract are underway

Previous article

Lewis Hamilton: Talks with Mercedes over new F1 contract are underway

Next article

Mexico 1990: Mansell reveals all on his greatest F1 overtake

Mexico 1990: Mansell reveals all on his greatest F1 overtake
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021