Lando Norris won’t be Max Verstappen’s ‘number two’

Lando Norris is contracted to McLaren until the end of 2025, right before the new engine regulations are introduced.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok believes McLaren star Lando Norris must be Mercedes’ “number one pick” when Lewis Hamilton finally retires from the sport, but that it might be a “complicated process” to poach him from the Woking-based team.

There is absolutely no doubt that Norris is an exceptional driver who could drive for one of the frontrunning teams, with the British driver having even held several conversations in the past with Red Bull.

Norris has been the best of the midfield drivers pretty much since he made his debut for McLaren in 2019 and has gone on to claim a pole position and six podiums so far at the pinnacle of motorsport.

To highlight just how talented he is, Norris was the only midfield driver to claim a podium last season, something he achieved at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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His current deal at McLaren is set to expire at the end of 2025, which would then open up a move to Mercedes for 2026, when the new engine regulations are introduced.

The likelihood is, though, he’ll have to see out his deal at McLaren, with Hamilton expected to sign a new contract that will see him at the Silver Arrows until the new regs.

Charles Leclerc, though, is another driver who’s been tipped as a potential target for Mercedes, which would then open the opportunity to move to Ferrari for Norris, perhaps to reunite with former team-mate Carlos Sainz.

Regardless of whether it’s Mercedes or Ferrari, the chances are that Norris will have the chance to move to a frontrunning team come 2026, with Chandhok predicting Mercedes as the best bet.

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“Where’s he going to go is the question,” Chandhok said.

“The reality is I can’t see him going to Red Bull to be a number two to Max, Ferrari have their two drivers locked out.

“So his options are to go to Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton stops because George [Russell] isn’t going anywhere.

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“He can stay at McLaren I think until that happens basically. I think McLaren can safely hold onto him until that happens.

“But, let’s say we get to the end of this year and Lewis suddenly decides ‘I’ve had enough, I’m gone’.

“Then I feel like it’s going to be quite a complicated process because no doubt about it Lando has got to the number one pick, he’s got to Mercedes’ number one pick to replace Lewis.”