Lando Norris: is there anything in the world that could trouble the ever-smiling boy wonder of F1? Well, it turns out yes!
At the end of the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, a race that turned out to be a disaster for the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc – the local hero – and proved anything but interesting for defending world champion Lewis Hamilton, there was one man smiling at the front. Not the most experienced driver around and also not the guy who lacks the drive to excel- Lando Norris, with his fighting third had secured his second podium for McLaren in five races.
Just who would’ve thought that the driver who’s still new in the top annals of Grand Prix racing would eclipse with such a handy result while his teammate was embroiled in a vapid fight further down in the midfield?
The smiling Lando Norris at Monaco
Later on, after the winning troika comprising Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren were awarded their trophies, Lando Norris was even seeing engaging in a bit of bro-bonding as they call it with his former McLaren teammate- Carlos Sainz Jr., who looking at the massive improvement that Lando Norris has gone on to demonstrate said that he’s meant for ‘big things!’
Though, little did one know that behind the smiling veneer and that boyish charm Lando Norris was perhaps concealing a bit of concern, which he only recently opened up on.
So that leads us to a question. What’s troubling Lando Norris, the Bristol-born Englishman with 43 race starts against his name?
Surprising as it may sound, Lando Norris isn’t exactly all cheery about the current MCL 35M, the machine that the Woking-based outfit has armed him and Daniel Ricciardo with.
Troubles for Ricciardo for sure, but for Lando Norris too?
Though, on his end, Ricciardo has never been shy about accepting that he’s still finding it tough to come to terms with the new 2021 car, the result truly indicated by his P8 on the driver standings. But, it’s a bit stunning to note that Lando Norris who’s been flying with the same car for the better part of the season out in the front is confronting challenges too.
The point being, Lando Norris isn’t too happy with the current McLaren, confessing he’s finding it hard to drive the car the way he wishes it would.
Suggesting that he’s finding it hard to push the McLaren MCL 35M the way he did in earlier seasons, it’s been quite a challenge for the driver who’s taking the fight with the likes of Sainz’ Ferrari and Perez’ Red Bull on the standings.
So technically speaking, are there any serious glitches?
Here’s what Lando Norris had to say:
“This year the car is different, and there are different things on the car that you have to drive in a different way,” he explained ahead of the Baku GP.
I’m still learning a lot now, with every race that we do, about the car. I would say Monaco was my best qualifying that I’ve done, but I made mistakes in previous qualifying and races because of not knowing about the car enough.
I’m still learning a lot of things and, especially in Bahrain, for example, and in the first couple of races of the season, I was driving it too much like last year’s car and I had to adapt a lot to this year’s car.”
That being said, the driver with 2 fastest laps against his name in F1 shared that the car-set ups he was used to working with in the junior categories is something that won’t assist him this time around.
The way forward
He’s done, in these testing circumstances, what any capable and efficient driver would- recede to the drawing board.
Spending a considerable amount of time in the simulator ever since the completion of the 2021 Monaco GP, Lando Norris has confessed he’s trying to take a step back to understand just what is going on.
Maybe, with a few more races and technical sessions with his technicians, the Briton can gather fully what’s to be done and the way forward henceforth.
For now, though, his hunger to lead a McLaren resurgence is surely one of the talking points of this season.