(L to R): Lando Norris, McLaren, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2023

Norris is “growing” closer to the champion who inspired him to race

2023 British Grand Prix

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In his fifth season in Formula 1, Lando Norris says he is finally starting to get to know the person who inspired him to become a driver.

Last weekend’s British Grand Prix was the second time the pair have appeared on the podium together since Norris debuted in F1 with McLaren in 2019. Norris memorably scored his first podium at Hamilton’s expense in the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix after Hamilton was hit with a five second time penalty.The following year, they stood on the podium together for the first time at Imola.

Speaking ahead of last weekend’s race, where the pair would fight over second place, Norris described how his relationship with Lewis Hamilton has been “growing” in recent months.

“Over the last couple of months we’ve been chatting a bit more and getting to know each other a bit more,” he told media including RaceFans. “I still have so much respect for him and what he’s been able to achieve in F1.

Norris and Hamilton fought for second at Silverstone
“I’m not always the guy who asks a lot of questions to these people to get to know what they’re like and know what they think. I would say I do it in a more subtle way. I just try to understand how they think, and their thought processes, and just kind of understand what makes them them, what makes them special.

“I’m not always the most proactive in going forward and asking, picking people’s brains and stuff like that. Which I guess is maybe a better way of doing it, but it’s just not who I am at the end of the day. So I’m just happy to spend time with these people. When I say people, I mean people who are the top of whatever sport they’re in. People that I have a huge amount of respect for.”

Hamilton was a McLaren driver in the six seasons before he joined Mercedes in 2013. Like Norris he was one of McLaren’s junior drivers prior to debuting in F1 with the team.

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Being far apart in the pit lane has restricted how much interaction the pair can have on race weekends and Norris says he was not proactive in establishing a friendship with Hamilton in his first years in F1.

“It’s difficult when you’re in different teams. I’m not the biggest talker either, so it’s not like I chat to anyone really that match,” said Norris. “Probably only the team mates that I’ve had, and my current team mates. Those are the guys I speak to the most on the whole grid.

“But [Hamilton] has been very inspiring. He’s the guy that is part of the reason I’m a F1 driver today. Or the reason that I wanted to become a F1 driver. So weird thinking right now I’m racing against him.”

Norris said it’s clear Hamilton still has affection for his old team McLaren. “He still has a lot of respect for McLaren and I think he still has a lot of love for McLaren.

“I think he wants us to do well, which is still a nice thing because it’s where he started his career. I feel like wherever you start your career, you kind of owe them something in a way. And McLaren gave me an opportunity, so I’ll do something for them.

“Like I said, [the relationship] is growing, it’s good, getting to know each other more, which is a cool thing.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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10 comments on “Norris is “growing” closer to the champion who inspired him to race”

  1. Stephen Taylor
    15th July 2023, 13:54

    Lando would be wise to use Lewis as his mentor form this point forward. There’s a budding pupil/mentor relationship there

    1. Itsmeagain (@)
      15th July 2023, 18:12

      Sorry, I didn’t see that. Lando is a more straightforward person instead of Lewis who likes to play his mental games. Would be a shame if Lando transforms in a lewis 2.0

      1. Stephen Taylor
        15th July 2023, 20:24

        He already is.

      2. I have to agree there. Lewis is not as all-round as his tally might make people think. It is easy to forget the circumstances in which he racked up his titles. I do not see him as mentally strong nor as somebody that elevates a team or is firm in giving direction on car development. I can see the pure racing skills mentor role though, since Lewis is a magnificent racer.

    2. There are better mentors, more mentally stable, less distracted and great in less than optimal cars

      1. LOL!! Name them please, giving examples of where they are superior.

        Given that Lando is talking about what it takes to be a champion / or drive consistently well, we’ve only got Alonso and Verstappen. I love Fernando, but he’s hardly known for his ‘arm around the shoulder’ skills with his team-mates!!!

        But please, do tell. I’m off our for the beer and popcorn as this will be entertaining.

      2. Luca Badoer or Nikita Mazepin would be better mentors

        1. just stupid hate, as always

  2. They have some interesting stuff in common, both british and both starting out with mclaren, which is unusual, especially with hamilton: you normally have to go through weak teams before people give you a chance in a top team; even though mclaren was a midfield team when they hired norris, it’s still not bad a starting point compared to a backmarker like you usually have to do.

    It’s nice hamilton still likes mclaren and was a good story to read.

  3. There could be a moment in F1 that when lewis and Alsonso retired Max the only champion is in the field and Max isn’t staying forever there. So after 2026 no champion on track anymore? or will it be 2028 ..

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