Lando Norris Believes it is Possible to Stop Verstappen

Lando Norris
Lando Norris (Credit: Getty Images)

What if Lando Norris hadn’t had the last word? The young British driver from McLaren will face the Austrian Grand Prix this coming weekend with the aim of beating Max Verstappen and proving that the World Championship is not decided in favor of the Dutch driver from Red Bull.

After a shaky start to the season (just one podium in the first four races), the 24-year-old British driver has become the only alternative so far to the dominance of the three-time Formula 1 world champion.

In the last six races, Norris has been in the box five times (one victory in Miami and four-second places) and was left out on the other (4th in Monaco).

At the last round in Spain, Norris also set the fastest lap on the Montmelo circuit (near Barcelona) where he was again second behind Verstappen, who despite having already won seven races in 10 races, his dominance does not seem as overwhelming as in 2023.

69 points difference

“We’re on a roll and we’re doing well,” said a confident Norris, who also admits there is room for improvement. “I have to sort out a few small details (with the car) and we’ll be back on top.”

“Now, every time we start a weekend (of Grand Prix), the car responds perfectly and we are always there, a couple of tenths” behind Red Bull, added Norris, who still regrets not having been able to win at Montmeló last week after having started from ‘pole’.

Both drivers are separated by 69 points in the World Championship standings before the Austrian Grand Prix, in which Red Bull will race at home.

The next races before the summer break (Austria, Silverstone, Hungaroring, and Spa-Francorchamps) will mark the second part of the season and will determine whether there is anyone who can challenge Verstappen and his Red Bull.

Although McLaren has come very close to the Austrian team, as it will have the support of the ‘Orange Army’, it knows that it will not be easy to beat Red Bull on its home turf.

And unlike the past races, the loot to be won at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg is greater, since this Grand Prix is ​​one of those that has a sprint race on Saturday, which distributes half the points than on Sunday.

Two podiums for Mercedes

Red Bull are also aware that the gap to their rivals has narrowed compared to last year and their boss Christian Horner has warned that it could be a difficult weekend.

“On one lap it’s going to be tough with McLaren and Lando, who will be fast again, as will Ferrari and Mercedes,” said the Briton.

“The one who has really taken a step forward is Lando Norris and we have to fight hard to victory at the moment and stay on top as a team. But you know, this is how F1 should be!” added Horner.

Another team that seems to be going from strength to strength is Mercedes after seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton climbed the podium for the first time this season last weekend… after his teammate George Russell did so just before in Montreal.

“We’re very excited about the rest of the season,” Russell admitted.

“We’ve had more time in the wind tunnel than our rivals and we know what we need to do to make progress,” added Russell, who said he was “100%” convinced that Mercedes will win another race this season.

Quite the opposite to Ferrari, which after being the only alternative to Red Bull at the start of the season (with victories in Melbourne and Monte Carlo), its two drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, have not made it onto the podium in the last two races.

Before the cars start rolling, much of the paddock’s attention is focused on the market. This Thursday the renewals of the Canadian Lance Stroll for Aston Martin and the Frenchman Pierre Gasly for Alpine were announced, a team in which Sainz could end up, who will leave Ferrari at the end of the season to leave his position to Hamilton.

“I never comment on rumors and I won’t say which teams I’m in negotiations with. I don’t want to set a deadline for my decision, as it could change,” the Spaniard said on Thursday.

Read More: Max Verstappen Wins the Spanish Grand Prix for the Third Consecutive Year

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