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Formula 1: Norris: Between loneliness and hunger for victory

Formula 1: Norris: Between loneliness and hunger for victory
Formula 1: Norris: Between loneliness and hunger for victory

Lando Norris is considered the next Formula 1 world champion. For the first time in his career, the Briton is now in a position to actually get involved in the fight. He has to sacrifice a lot to do so.

One victory is far from enough for Lando Norris. “I am deeply convinced that we can win more races, without wanting to sound boastful,” said the Brit in Spielberg. The 24-year-old has become the first challenger to Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen in his McLaren and seems capable of causing the Red Bull superstar a lot of problems on the way to his fourth title. “I’m racing with the best, but I want to be the best,” said the World Championship runner-up confidently before the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday (3 p.m./Sky).

Norris is not a wisecracker. He is a perfectionist who was already in a kart at the age of seven, rushing from victory to victory and sacrificing a lot for it. He never had a real youth, the racing driver from Bristol told the English “Telegraph” this week: “My life has always been racing.” For a long time, friendships were neglected because he traveled a lot as a schoolboy. “I was so skinny as a child and had no self-confidence,” he said. At first, even his successes did not change that – and even today he still says: “Life as a Formula 1 driver can be lonely.”

A driver like Michael Schumacher

He doesn’t want this to be understood as a complaint, looking back it would change almost nothing and he doesn’t regret the path that led him to his first victory in the premier class of motorsport in Miami in May. “I’ve dreamed of this since I was a child,” he said. “I’m definitely not perfect and I have things I need to work on, but I’m even hungrier to win now and I’m even more disappointed when I don’t manage it,” he stressed.

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella sees Norris as a man who can be on a par with Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen or Fernando Alonso. The Italian has worked with all of them in the past. “Lando is definitely there,” said Stella, calling his driver “world champion material.” According to the Telegraph, Norris is paid around 20 million pounds (23.6 million euros) per year at McLaren, and the figure is rising.

Is Norris the new Hamilton?

This is not only due to his driving skills, but to the overall package. Norris is the star of a new generation of Formula 1 fans. Many of them found their way to motorsport via the Netflix series “Drive to survive”, and Norris also picked them up on Twitch streams or other social media channels. 8.6 million people follow him on Instagram alone and see a young man who developed a great passion for photography, awarded the player of the match in the Champions League final and celebrates his successes with childlike joy.

McLaren signed Norris early on, and he has been driving in Formula 1 since 2019. There are many similarities to the career of Lewis Hamilton, who took a similar path at the British racing team when he was young. But can Norris become a new Hamilton? Many experts, and not just those in his own team, say that he has the potential to be world champion. But there is no doubt that Norris is a very different type of person to the eccentric Hamilton, who is a record world champion with seven titles. Mercedes star Hamilton comes from a poor background, while Norris’ father made many millions as the founder of a British investment company.

Travelling in Verstappen’s private jet

However, Lando Norris himself feels it is important to stress that he did not buy his place in Formula 1 with his father’s money, as some others have done. It would be wrong to see him solely as a beneficiary of a rich family, although he had it much easier financially than many of his competitors. He has now built up his own brand; even as a young driver he was one of the first to have a social media team and also markets his own clothing collections.

He was just 20 years old when he first sat in the Formula 1 cockpit, and Verstappen was there too. Both are good friends and after the races they sometimes fly back to their adopted home of Monaco in Verstappen’s private jet. Norris says openly that he lives there because of the tax advantages and that he didn’t just move to the Mediterranean because of the good weather. Norris is still a long way from Verstappen’s successes (three world championship titles, 61 victories), and the Dutchman, who is two years older, is much more cunning. Before the eleventh of the 24 races of the season, Verstappen is 69 points ahead of Norris in the world championship standings.

McLaren overtakes the competition

“I’ve only won one race. One race is great, of course, but again relative to what you can still achieve,” said Norris. In Barcelona, ​​a small moment of carelessness at the start cost him a possible second victory, but things should go better in Austria. “We’re racing against one of the best drivers in the history of Formula 1 and one of the best teams,” said Norris. McLaren has improved more than anyone else in the last year and has the best car. “Sometimes it looks faster than it is,” said Norris, adding: “I didn’t beat him in Barcelona, ​​so we have to do an even better job as a team.”

Source: Stern

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