Lando Norris warns Red Bull

Lando Norris has frequently been tipped to join Red Bull, potentially even before his current McLaren contract expires.

McLaren finds itself in a promising yet challenging position. 

While driver Lando Norris exudes optimism about the team’s ability to challenge Red Bull, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella remains cautiously realistic about the task at hand.

Red Bull Racing clinched the constructors’ championship title at the Japanese Grand Prix, and their star driver, Max Verstappen, is on the verge of securing his third consecutive F1 world title, needing just three more points. 

Despite this, Lando Norris has been a standout performer for McLaren, securing back-to-back second-place finishes in the recent Japanese and Singapore Grands Prix.

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With teammate Oscar Piastri also gracing the podium in Japan, Norris couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for McLaren’s future prospects, especially as they head into the 2024 season. 

On the team radio immediately after crossing the finish line in Japan, Norris exclaimed, “Incredible job all weekend. Double podium! 

“Two of us up there. We’re coming. 

“We’re coming for Red Bull. 

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“Let’s keep up the work!”

Expanding on his post-race remarks, Norris emphasised, “We’re not miles away. 

“We’re beating one of them already, just not the faster one. 

“To be where we are now, I didn’t think any of us were expecting it or even thinking it at the beginning of the year. 

“So we are definitely taking where we are, we are taking our podiums, and are taking our double podium. 

“But we know we still have a lot of things we can improve that we are going to improve, and in such a short amount of time from the beginning of the year, we have been able to turn things around massively and start to close the gap comparing to every other team to Red Bull. 

“So, I think that’s a good sign, and it’s only been one year of a good amount of progress, and we know a lot of things to come. 

“So I’m excited for the future.”

However, team principal Andrea Stella has offered a more measured perspective, tempering Norris’ enthusiasm. 

Stella acknowledges that there are only “some tracks in which we could be competitive” with Red Bull. 

When pressed on how far McLaren is from closing the gap to Red Bull, Stella replied, “Still a step too far. 

“But in fairness, at the moment, it looks [as if] Max is one step too far. 

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“There’s a variability of tracks left in the season, but none of these tracks has the Singapore characteristics.”

Stella went on to explain, “While there could be some tracks in which we could be competitive – I think Qatar should be a decent track for us – I’m afraid that the characteristics we like, they are also the characteristics where Red Bull will be just outstanding. 

“So we’ll have to be realistic that we’ll need some situations to happen to be able to make the final step.”