“Such a great driver, Lando,” said seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton when driving against him in Austria in 2021. And the young McLaren continues to show off why so many respect his driving, week after week.
Born in Bristol in 1999, Lando Norris has risen fast through the racing ranks to make it where he is today. Starting in go-karting at the age of seven, the Brit showed his speed from the off, claiming pole position in his first-ever national event, and winning the CIK FIA European Championship, the International Super Cup, and the WSK Euro Series, all at the age of 13.
By 2017, Lando had already made it to a full-time Formula 3 seat, driving for Carlin Racing and impressing yet again, racking up nine wins and twenty podiums, all to win the title with two races remaining. Later in the year, he made his Formula 2 debut for Campos Racing.
Driving for Carlin Racing again, this time in F2 in 2018, Norris raced alongside Brazilian Sérgio Sette Câmara, but couldn’t quite replicate the same success he enjoyed in the category below, this time finishing second in the Championship. Eventual Formula One opponent George Russell won the title. However, it was another admirable season with several Formula One teams being impressed by the 19-year-old at the end of the year. But only one team would succeed to get their hands on him.
Back in 2017, Lando signed as a McLaren junior driver, which would eventually become the full-time seat for the 2019 Formula One season, alongside Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr. Team boss Zak Brown said at the time, “We are in rebuilding mode, and to have two extremely quick young drivers, one with a decent amount of experience along with one who is inexperienced is a good combination for us when we are rebuilding and looking out over a five-year horizon.”
It has been a fruitful time so far for Lando at McLaren. Since his debut, he has scored six podiums, with his maiden one coming in the season opener in Austria in 2020. Although he is yet to taste victory in the sport, he has scored a decent 428 points over the last four seasons, consistently being described as the ‘best of the rest’ with a car that hasn’t yet been a constant frontrunner.
The team’s best result with Lando was in Monza of 2021, with former teammate Daniel Ricciardo winning, with the Briton in second place to give the team their first 1-2 finish since 2010.
Although 2023 hasn’t started the way the Woking team and Lando would’ve wanted, there is always hope for the future with him in the cockpit.