Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya

Norris doesn’t expect to emulate Hamilton’s winning start at McLaren

2019 F1 season

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McLaren’s new Formula 1 driver Lando Norris played down comparisons between him and the last British rookie to join the team, Lewis Hamilton, saying he’s unlikely to challenge for wins in 2019 or 2020.

Norris will make his debut for McLaren in the 2019 F1 season, 12 years on from Hamilton’s maiden campaign at the team, where he won four times and came within one point of winning the world championship in his rookie year.

The 18-year-old told media including RaceFans that Hamilton had been one of the drivers he looked up to earlier in his career.

“Growing up I’ve always watched Lewis and aspired to have some attributes from him,” said Norris. “Mainly his speed, his raw pace and speed overall is probably the best out of everyone on the whole grid at the moment.

“There’s bits you want from different drivers. I think being compared to someone who could be about to win five world championships, he’s won four, I don’t think it’s a bad thing in any way. As long as you get compared on the good stats not the bad stats.”

However Norris doubts McLaren will be as competitive next year as they were when Hamilton made his debut in 2007.

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“I think it’s very different,” he said. “He came into McLaren when they were doing extremely well, I’ve joined when their going through a pretty tricky time.

“Things over the past few years have basically got a bit lost. I think our opportunity of driving next year, as well as Carlos [Sainz Jnr], it’s a fresh start and it’s what the team need to be able to go back to where they need to be.”

“We’re not going to be winning next year, probably not the year after,” he added. “It’s going to be a few years to get back to where we should be.”

Following a string of championship titles in the lower categories, Norris has had a more difficult time in Formula Two, where he lies second in the championship with four races to go.

“I know I’m better than what I’m currently doing in Formula Two, it’s just not going well,” he explained. “I’m still working hard, trying to make improvements on that side of thing, especially for Sochi.

“I’m still trying to win Formula Two, do the best job I can, because I don’t want it saying on my CV ‘win, win, win, win, win, loss, Formula 1’. I don’t want it to say that.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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37 comments on “Norris doesn’t expect to emulate Hamilton’s winning start at McLaren”

  1. wins with McLaren?

    he will be lucky if McLaren don’t dump him after one or two difficult seasons, a la Perez / Magnussen / Vandoorne

    1. My thoughts exactly. Mclaren hasn’t been a good place to bee for young and upcomming talents in recent years

  2. McLaren’s new Formula 1 driver Lando Norris played down comparisons between him and the last British rookie to join the team, Lewis Hamilton, saying he’s unlikely to challenge for wins in 2019 or 2020.

    Who is making those comparisons? I’d like a bit of whatever he/she is smoking.

    “I’m still trying to win Formula Two, do the best job I can, because I don’t want it saying on my CV ‘win, win, win, win, win, loss, Formula 1’. I don’t want it to say that.”

    Best of luck to you, Lando. You’ll need all the wins you can get on your CV, because McL are a long way away from winning, and you might end your Formula 1 career there. At least the sportscar or Formula E teams will be interested in you if you’ve got a few other wins.

    1. Have to admit that comparison does not seem to come from planet earth.

    2. (@sundark) ,you are so right .
      Everyone seems to forget that only one driver in F1 modern times have been able to win several races in his rookie year;as well as several pole positions in his rookie year and beat up his 2 times world champion team mate Fernando”the beast”Alonso.
      ONLY ONE.
      I do not like Hamilton,but as a F1 driver;you have to take off your hat(your sombrero)to him he is best of the bunch!!!Second to none with the same or with an inferior car.
      And despite that,haters,loosers and other incapables of the same kind;do not have the honesty to acknowledge that fact.
      Of course Norris is also going to do several pole positions next year as well a wins and even beat his 2 time world champion co team mate.
      Landon Norris F1 WDC world champion 2019:Go Landon, Noris Go.

      1. Well the all time Great and undying legend that is Jaques Villeneuve did most of that as well

        1. But he was not British

        2. I’m pretty sure I read “in modern times” in the above comment… maybe I’m seeing things… nothing against Villenueve, btw… he is every bit a legend, regardless.

          1. Well 1997 is hardly the classic f1 era of Gentleman racers and Graham Hill’s formidable moustache

          2. Yes, was 1996 though, it’s a bit at the limit of what can be called modern times, however no matter what villeneuve and hamilton did, the only thing we can credit to them is they were able to perform at the top from the start.

            The cars they drove were in hamilton’s case the 2nd best car of the year, which can’t be said for many drivers at the start, and villeneuve’s even by far the best car of the year.

            Villeneuve ended up alonso’s way as he never found a strong car again, hamilton had a strong car most of his career, I’d like to see if he’d overachieve even with a mclaren alonso had in recent years, we only had a glimpse of what hamilton could do in such case in early 2009, then mclaren was back to being fast.

  3. I know I’m better than what I’m currently doing […], it’s just not going well

    I’m sure a Mr Vandoorne feels the same way.

  4. I won’t forgive Mclaren if they ruin his racing career.

    1. They pretty much built his racing career though. He’s not done bad out of them!

  5. There’s often talk of getting McLaren back where they should be. But a sole drivers championship and no constructors championship in 20 years, 6 years without a win and 4 without a podium. How long until the reality is that they just are where they should be?

    Does anyone who followed F1 back when Williams were contenders recall how long that took for reality to sink in?

    1. Unfortunately this does seem to be the reality of the situation. I’m not what you’d call a McLaren fan but I do have a soft spot for them having seen the greatest drivers win championships with them. I can’t help but feel a bit sad about how badly the team has been managed recently

      1. Mclaren at least have the money to make this work, look at renault, they didn’t achieve much in recent times but they have the money and people trust them to do well (I don’t), so mclaren, maybe in a bit more years, could go back to the top as well.

        Atm the 3 teams that have a much larger budget than the others are the only ones able to contend for wins, there’s quite some jump to mclaren and renault and the rest have less.

  6. I’m going to give this guy a chance.
    He is coming from a privileged background (which most fans despise) and he is joining a very famous team that is possibly as low as it has ever been.
    He could be in for a rough time from both fans and media and may well end up being blamed for everything by his team bosses if things go bad.

    Welcome to Hell Lando and good luck ;)

    1. @nullapax

      He is coming from a privileged background (which most fans despise)

      They shouldn’t, as there arn’t really any ex Karters who had normal childhoods let alone under-privileged ones.

      Button, Mansell, Senna and Hamilton just a few who had go-Karts bought for them as kids otherwise they’d be nobodies. think about that. Alonso had one handed down from his sister. Since then Karting has got even more expensive. Your kid needs 50 grand to get them going for 2-3 years, more as soon as they become competitive then it’s 100k per season.

      We are watching a Formula consisting of the best of a lucky bunch of kids who were bought expensive Birthday presents.

      Sony Playstation 4 300 bucks. Start-up Kart package 6,000 bucks +logistics race fees running costs

      1. If you think Nigel Mansell and Lewis Hamilton come from “privileged back grounds I suggest you do some research, being bought a go cart as a kid does not imply privilege.
        For interest, Mansell sold all his personal belongings to support his Formula Ford Career and Anthony Hamilton took redundancy to support Lewis … not exactly silver spoon stuff.

    2. He is coming from a privileged background (which most fans despise)

      I don’t think the privileged background is the problem, well, not for me anyway. The issue is McLaren is playing Musical Chairs with their drivers in the hopes that it will fix their car troubles.

  7. Norris doesn’t expect to emulate Hamilton’s winning start at McLaren

    No one does… and not because of Lando

  8. Correct me if I am wrong. But Lewis was amazing in the lower categories, 15 f3 wins and 5 wins in GP2. Norris has 1 F2 win.

    1. @neil Look at Lando’s record in every other category he’s competed in. It’s quite impressive.

        1. @gpfacts Agreed. The problem obviously has been Stoffel’s performance in F1 against Alonso’s benchmark. We can blame Mclaren all day long, but in the end it was Stoffel who underperformed for two consecutive years.

          1. @ajpennypacker Norris is very fortunate not to be paired with Alonso. He would most probably be trashed like Vandoorne.

    2. While being 3 years older than Lando is currently. Lando also broke Hamilton’s record for the youngest World Karting Champion. He’s only 18 remember, going up against much more experienced drivers in F2.

      1. @hugh11

        Hamilton got beat in Karting there were faster racers with no money. He was also protected in Martin Hines nice little earner in Formula Yamaha, keeping him away from the bigger tougher grids.

      2. @hugh11

        going up against much more experienced drivers in F2.

        George Russell has less experience in F2 than Lando. Russell impressed me this year, although he wasn’t hyped at all. I didn’t even know about Russell; Lando, however, disappointed this year.

        PS: by the way, some people who followed Lando before F2 say that his driving is the same as in F2: he can win only from the first position with a dominant car. When he can’t take pole, he doesn’t win due to poor race craft.

  9. Really? He doesn’t? Why not?
    Oh… Oh yeah… I remember… McLaren couldn’t even build a podium contending car to save their lives, let alone a race winning one.

    1. Indeed, looks like even alonso, IMO a top 10 driver of all times, can’t get a podium no matter what, even the one race I’d like to see an alternate universe of, singapore 2017, he was on course for 3rd or 4th, but even in such a hard track to overtake, as soon as the track dried up, it’d have been hard to keep bottas behind, so it’s not even sure he’d have got a podium in that one chance.

  10. Wow, no kidding!
    Right now everything about McLaren stinks, what a complete joke and parody of a F1 team they have become. As long as I have been into F1, I have been a McLaren fan and I can’t even dig down deep enough to cheer for them anymore.

  11. Well, no.

    Hamilton was in a different league in GP2, Norris isn’t even the best driver in F2 this year.
    Hamilton had oodles of testing, Norris has had very little.
    Hamilton had a competitive car, Norris is going to be driving a… well, actually I think it’ll be quite a good car, at least compared to this year, but it’ll be more 2013 than 2007.

    1. Damn, alonso is really unlucky then, he’d have got some podiums with a car like that but he never got one lately in the mclaren stint.

  12. Put Lando in a 2007 McLaren for 2,000 miles of testing and then ask him to do some timed hot laps. We’ll get an idea then.
    Sadly it’s going to be a 5 year wait to see him dicing at the front.

  13. The only way he could emulate Hamiltons rookie year is to have the same privileges Hamilton had, ie about 20,000km in the car he is about to drive and that car is a top 2 car.

    1. Indeed, you can’t compare rookies nowadays with rookies back then. Rookies now get a couple of Friday practices and maybe a young driver test day before their race debut ($tro££ being the only exception). Hamilton had more then a full season of miles in the car before his race debut. Plus that 2007 mclaren was by far the fastest car, most drivers on the grid would have gotten a couple of wins in that car.
      I’m not saying Lewis isn’t that good, because he is one of the best (if not the best) driver F1 has ever had. But he was lucky to have his debut season in that car. And to be breaking records you need to be at the right place in the right time, like he is with Merc, or Vettel with Red Bull or Shumacher at Ferrari.

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