Norris Could Use Mercedes Help In Fight For Title Against Verstappen

F1
Thursday, 20 June 2024 at 22:00
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Lando Norris suggested that catching Max Verstappen will be tough, but it might be doable, especially now that Mercedes seems to be fighting for wins as well.
Coming into the 10th race weekend of the season at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Lando Norris stands in third place in the Drivers' Championship, seven points behind Charles Leclerc in second and 63 points behind Max Verstappen in first.
63 points is quite a comfortable gap on Max Verstappen's side, but there are still 15 race weekends to go (including the Spanish Grand Prix) this season.
Does the 24-year-old papaya driver have a chance to catch up with the leading triple World Champion? Speaking to the media in Barcelona, he said:

"I think it's tough. But there are probably more chances and possibilities now, especially if Mercedes are in the fight, more chance to have a bigger swing of points."

"A bad weekend for Max was third or fourth, it could be that it's [now] a fifth or a sixth. And if you can be that one guy that wins, within one weekend, you can turn quite a bit of points around fairly quickly. So if it goes like that, then I will say there's a higher chance."

It's going to take a 'very good car and very consistent performance'

Ever since McLaren introduced their new upgrade package in Miami, Norris was pretty much able to keep up with the Dutchman's pace in Red Bull.
In the last four Grand Prix race weekends, Verstappen scored 76 points, and Norris scored only three points less—73. Though it is closer than it ever was, the McLaren driver would now need to outperform the 26-year-old by more than four points on average every single race if he wants to win the Championship.
What's more, we are now entering circuits that should suit Red Bull's car much more than the last four, so the result in Barcelona might tell us more about whether Norris will be able to challenge Verstappen. He continued:

"I think what Max is always going to do, his bad weekend is never going to be a bad weekend, he's still going to score a good amount of points. He's just strong in all areas."

"It's rare that he makes mistakes, it's rare that he messes up qualifying. But with more pressure now, you never know how that changes. Always with pressure, it's easier to make mistakes."

McLaren has been reliable and consistent this season. In fact, the British team is the only team without a single DNF after the first nine race weekends of the season. If Norris wants to think about winning the Championship, he knows this trend will need to continue. He added:

"I think it's tough because you can't doubt Max in any area, he doesn't have a weakness outright. It's possible [to catch him] but it's going to need very good car performance and very consistent performance throughout the whole season."

"As you've seen, they've been a little bit more maybe up and down than what we have. So we just need to capitalise on when they're down and try and be the one car that's at the front and on the up."