McLaren driver Lando Norris can prove he is a future World Champion by repeating his outstanding performance at Imola in the next few races of the season, ex-F1 driver Marc Surer told Formula1News.co.uk on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old, now in his third season with McLaren in Formula One, set a lap time good enough for P2 on the grid in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but, as he exceeded track limits at Turn 9 on that effort, his lap time was deleted.
Norris started the race in seventh and drove faultlessly to cross the finish line in P3 to score his second-ever podium in Formula 1.
Reacting to Norris’ ultra-impressive weekend at Imola, Surer said he was more impressed by his qualifying pace than his podium finish – and the ex-F1 racer believes he could have the makings of a future World Champion.
“Lando Norris impressed everybody and also me. It was an outstanding performance,” Surer told this publication.
“For me, the more impressive thing than the race was the lap time he did in qualifying which was deleted. This was really impressive.
“And he had a clean race, which obviously not even World Champions could do in these conditions.
“But, the question is: can he repeat this?
“Because we always see some drivers on one track having an outstanding performance and the next race they are back to normal again,” he added, giving the example of Valtteri Bottas, who he said is “unbeatable in some races, then nowhere in the next races.”
Continuing, he said: “And I know this with Lando, that throughout his career, he has always had some ups and downs.
“I hope he can repeat it, because if Lando can repeat this performance in the next races, then he is a future World Champion.”
Surer believes we are yet to see Ricciardo’s true pace at McLaren as he is still settling in.
“If you compare with Ricciardo, I think Ricciardo is not home yet in the McLaren,” he said.
“I think we need to wait one or two more races to see his true performance, because this is not the Ricciardo we know, he is not yet there.”
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