Norris Believes McLaren 'Closest Ever' To Winning Races Since His F1 Debut

F1
by Erik VirostkoMonday, 29 January 2024 at 23:00
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McLaren is one of the teams with a rich history, but in recent years, they didn't manage to win many races, but Lando Norris wants to change that.
When the British driver joined the Papaya team in 2019, it immediately became clear that he would want to lead them to a World Championship. The last time someone managed to win a World Drivers' Championship in McLaren was back in 2008, and it was Norris' countryman Lewis Hamilton.
It was Hamilton's first of his seven World Championships, and Norris is hoping for same success in his career. So far, he's yet to win a race, despite standing on the podium 13 times already.
Recently, Norris extended his contract with McLaren, and that clearly signals that he believes in the team. The last time McLaren won the World Constructors' Championship was in 1998, and more than two decades later, Norris wants to lead them to another one.
Speaking after his contract extension, Norris revealed where his belief comes from. Last year, Red Bull had the most dominant car, which managed to win 21 out of 22 races, but still, McLaren was able to compete with them at times.

"There were moments we were close to winning races last year, and a few races we were not miles away from a Red Bull. When you think of it, it [the Red Bull] was the most competitive car ever in F1, and a few races we were extremely, extremely close."

Of course, winning races and winning championships are two different things. The 24-year-old is yet to win his first race, and he's ever that there's a big difference between the two. Still, Norris believes that McLaren are closer than ever to winning the race, since he joined the team.

"We’re the closest we’ve ever been [to winning a race] since I’ve been here and for many, many years, but fighting for a championship is a bigger step."

Despite his ambitions, the British still stays grounded, as he knows that it may be impossible to win the championship in 2024. He still believes that the team is capable of winning races, but they may wait to challenge for the overall title.

"If you ask me do I think I can win races this year, I’d be more inclined to say yes, but to go straight into winning races and a championship, I think that’s another level."