Lando Norris has taken the next step as a racing driver as one of the brightest talents on the Formula 1 grid, according to his McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl.
Now in his third year in F1, Norris is racing alongside a new team-mate for the first time having been paired with Carlos Sainz over the past two seasons. Now with Daniel Ricciardo joining him at McLaren, Norris has clearly led the way with a fourth and a third in the opening two rounds. Although Seidl says there is still work to do with the car, he believes the young British driver is delivering on his potential after fighting with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at Imola.
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“If you look at the two guys who have been in front of us, they are the reference in the sport together with their teams at the moment,” Seidl said. “Therefore it was very good to finish in P3, but obviously a lot was happening in the race and it is important to not get carried away with the result.
“If you look at how quickly Max can drive away in his last stint, then we see that we still have a lot of work to do. But overall, it was very encouraging to see in qualifying and in the race that it is a great confirmation for us that the entire team together with our colleagues from Mercedes over the winter did a great job.
“I can only thank every single member of the team who did a great job. We made a step forward again with the car. We have a competitive car which is encouraging because that is important in order to keep this positive momentum. That is key also (to) making the steps in order to get back to the front again one day in F1.
“What is also encouraging to see is how Lando is flying at the moment. Two race weekends in a row now where he showed that he definitely made the next step as a driver. So I’m very happy with that.”
This time last week… 🍾🎉#ImolaGP 🇮🇹 #McLarenUnboxed pic.twitter.com/NbRlpjuRci
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 25, 2021
While Ricciardo is still finding his feet, Seidl is also pleased that a driver who appears to be struggling relative to Norris is still picking up solid top-six finishes.
“I’m also happy with how Daniel was battling through (at Imola),” Seidl said. “It was not an easy race for him because he did not feel that comfortable in the car compared to Lando all weekend to drive the car at the limit.
“We saw these tricky conditions that a lot of people got it wrong and went off by trying to do too much. Daniel drove a great race, and still scoring points despite the struggles he is still having with our car at the moment, scoring a very important P6 for us.”