Sky Is The Limit For Lando Norris In 2022 And Beyond

Lando Norris

Since earning his promotion at McLaren in the 2019 season, Lando Norris has improved year upon year with the British outfit and in the Formula One Drivers’ Championship. As a result of his performances, Norris was one of the top contenders to replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes following his exit from the German team at the end of his contract in the 2021 season.

However, Mercedes opted to sign his compatriot George Russell to pair with Lewis Hamilton for the 2022 campaign and beyond, although speculation regarding the future of Hamilton could leave the door open for two young rising British talents driving for the same outfit.

The debate as to whether Mercedes made the correct decision in choosing Russell over Norris will rage until there is clear proof one way or the other. Russell has seen his odds for betting online on Formula One shorten dramatically to 9/2 to win the Drivers’ Championship following his move, while Norris is an outsider for the crown behind Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr at 22/1 in the minds of the bookmakers. It would be a surprise for Norris to make an impact in the race for the Drivers’ Championship, but his past three seasons have proven that he has made incremental progress as he gains further experience.

The 2021 season was clear proof of the improvement of his skill behind the wheel, both in terms of his composure and skill under pressure. He enjoyed a great start to the term, finishing in the top eight of the opening 10 races, recording podiums in the Emilia Romagna, Monaco, and Austrian Grand Prix.

The only rocky patch of his campaign came in races 11 and 12 when he was forced to retire at the Hungarian Grand Prix courtesy of a mistake from Bottas smashing into the back of him, ending his outing two laps into the contest. His Belgian Grand Prix was cursed from the start when he had to change the gearbox of his McLaren, suffering a five-place grid penalty in the process. Norris was off the pace for the entire race and finished in 14th, his lowest placing of the campaign outside of his retirement in Hungary.

The Brit would bounce back two weeks later with the best performance of his career in Italy to notch second place on the podium behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo, capitalizing on a crash between Hamilton and Max Verstappen. His consistency returned towards the end of the term, finishing in the top 10 in the final eight races of the season, although further podiums eluded the 22-year-old. Norris’ displayed his brilliance in the Russian Grand Prix to claim pole position, his first in his career. He was on course to turn that pole into a victory, but wet conditions that had forced others to pit worsened and prevented the Brit from holding out amid the struggle to keep his car on the track. It was a valuable lesson but highlighted his tenacity.

McLaren will be more than satisfied with the growth of Norris since he made his debut in 2019. Norris’ consistency more than any other characteristic stands out along with his ability to limit mistakes, the only two failures in the 2021 season were out of his control. It resulted in a sixth-place finish overall in the Drivers’ Championship, and he will be confident that he can take his game to the next level to push for a place in the top three, which could result in a maiden Grand Prix victory.

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