Lando Norris stakes claim to rival Verstappen for F1 drivers’ title

The McLaren driver is confident he can take the fight to Max Verstappen for the F1 drivers' title after climbing to second in the standings

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Lando Norris believes that his last two Formula 1 races prove he is capable of competing against Max Verstappen for the F1 drivers’ title.

The Briton was left frustrated by his inability to secure what would have been a second victory of the season after despite having the fastest car on Sunday. Verstappen, aided by a smart pit-stop strategy from Red Bull, was able to fend off a late challenge from the McLaren star and stretch his lead to 63 points in the championship.

But that hasn’t hurt Norris‘ pride or confidence in aiming for the drivers’ title. Despite losing more ground to the Dutchman, the 24-year-old gave a clear answer to the written press in Barcelona, including Total-Motorsport.com, when asked if he could win the title: “I think so.”

Norris added: “I should have done better in the race, or we should have got some points back on Max. Potentially, there was a chance to beat him in Canada, [that’s] two races that I finished second and he’s won, so Max needs to stop winning in order to to achieve that [winning the title].

Lando Norris believes he can challenge Max Verstappen for the F1 title | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“Even though I moved into second in the championship, that doesn’t matter. I couldn’t care if I was second or 10th. It’s more about the gap to what Max is and he’s still extending it at the minute, and that’s something we can’t afford to do or can’t afford to kind of let him run away with it at this point of the season.

“If I just made some better decisions in Canada and if I had a better start today, we would have won two races. I know there’s a lot of – and it kind of always has been – a lot of ‘shoulda, woulda, couldas’ but we have what it takes. It’s just about putting it all together.”

Norris retains faith in McLaren pace

Norris was left to rue his slow start in Barcelona after getting wheelspin off the line from pole position, which allowed Verstappen to pass him early on as he fell down to third. While he conceded that making those types of errors could cost them, Norris remained upbeat that McLaren have the best pace to compete at most tracks.

“Max is not making any mistakes really, so I think as soon as you make one little mistake, they’re [Red Bull] going to be ahead. I think honestly, if you look at it yesterday, they probably had a slightly quicker car, in my opinion. I could be wrong,” Norris added.

“Today, we had the quicker car. Obviously, someone has to finish second so it’s about the smaller things at the minute but every track is a bit different, like we’ve seen Red Bulls struggle a little bit more than three races ago.

“I think we’re still proving to be one of the most consistent teams that every track that we’ve been to. Mercedes the quickest last weekend in Canada and now a little bit behind here. It’s a little bit up and down, I think we just need to stay doing what we’re doing because it’s it’s good enough for the time being. We’re just trying to eliminate a couple of those small little mistakes.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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