Lando Norris makes bold Japanese GP prediction

McLaren's last victory came courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris has predicted that Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix could be “open”, should Max Verstappen not be leading by the exit of Turn 2.

The reigning World Champion cruised to pole position by almost six-tenths of a second, with nobody having been able to get close to the Red Bull driver.

The closest to the Dutchman was rookie Oscar Piastri, with Lando Norris qualifying right behind his team-mate in P3.

McLaren have looked good all weekend at Suzuka, to the extent that they have a great chance at claiming a double podium finish in the race.

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Whilst another podium would delight the Woking-based team, it’s a first victory since 2021 which they really want, with Norris admitting that the side will do their “best” to try and take the lead early on.

“We tried our best in Silverstone so we’ll try and do the same thing, but obviously it’s going to be difficult,” Norris said, as reported by

“It’s going to be a very difficult race tomorrow, very different to Silverstone in that regard. It could be a lot more open.”

Whether McLaren can win or not on Sunday largely depends on if Piastri or Norris can quickly get ahead of Verstappen, something which will be key for another chance of victory.

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Should Verstappen make a good start and remain the lead, then it’ll likely be another easy day at the office for the two-time World Champion.

Disrupting his rhythm is seemingly the only way to beat Verstappen, something Norris attempted at the British Grand Prix earlier in the season.

He knows that himself and Piastri must make Verstappen’s “life difficult” on Sunday, should they want to stop the championship leader from claiming a 13th win of the season.

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“Max is doing a very good job,” Norris agreed. “Red Bull is doing a very good job. We will do our best to make their life difficult and have a good race tomorrow.

“We’re going to try, but if [Max] is leading by turn 2, there’s not a lot you can really do,” he conceded. “I think our race pace is decent but it’s definitely not going to be as good as the Red Bull. We’ll do our best.

“It was a good day for us to be P2 and P3. I was pretty happy with my laps,” he said.

“[It’s tricky], not an easy circuit to put everything together. It’s so quick around here, the smallest mistake can make a big amount of lap time.