Norris Dismisses Fears Of Racing Alongside Verstappen: 'It's Not Smart Thing To Do'

by Adam OndrikSaturday, 27 January 2024 at 09:00
verstappennorris redbull rbcp6
Lando Norris dismissed any fears of racing alongside Max Verstappen in Red Bull after choosing to extend the contract with his current team.
Yesterday, it was announced Lando Norris extended his contract with McLaren two years prior to its due date. From what we know, the 24-year-old will remain with McLaren at least until the end of season 2027.
While it surely makes sense for the Brit to stay with his team, he is one of the few drivers on the grid that might have a shot at some of other top teams like Red Bull or Mercedes.
In a recent interview, Norris suggested he didn't want to go to Red Bull because he knows he needs to be comfortable in a team, and he feels comfortable in McLaren. Asked whether there were any fears of going up against Max Verstappen, he told Sky Sports:

"I think it's a longer discussion than just saying that. Is Max one of the best drivers ever in Formula 1? Absolutely. I think he's proved that enough."

Quite a few people have already referred to the second seat in Red Bull alongside the triple World Champion as the toughest one in the pit lane. Norris explained:

"He's in a team that he's very comfortable in, a lot of things are built up around him, so for anyone, even Max of a few years ago, to go in against the Max of now is extremely difficult."

Verstappen didn't lose to any of his teammates in the last seven years. That being said, Norris dismissed any notion of being scared of racing the Dutchman.

"So I don't think it's a question of 'are you scared or not scared?' I don't think I'd ever be scared of going against anyone, but even if you enter a team are you in a position to challenge someone straight away and are comfortable to do that?"

The thing is that every driver needs time to adapt to his new team to get to know the people, and just small things like having to use more words to explain yourself make a big difference, as Mika Hakkinen said in on of his recent interviews.

"I think it's a no for any driver. It takes time to adapt, and it takes time to get into place, and if you want to go against the best driver in the world, it's not the best thing to do. It's not a smart move to do."

On the other hand, Norris looks forward to challenging the 26-year-old (who, by the way, is a great friend of his) from his current position. He added:

"But I would love to race against Max; I've enjoyed some of the battles that we've had, and I'm looking even more forward to the battles we're going to have this year."