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Former F1 drivers doubt Norris' readiness for championship

Former F1 drivers doubt Norris' readiness for championship
© Reuters
Although he might currently have the superior car in Formula 1, Lando Norris is not yet prepared to contend for the world championship, according to two ex-F1 drivers.

Although he might currently have the superior car in Formula 1, Lando Norris is not yet prepared to contend for the world championship, according to two ex-F1 drivers.

This comes after Norris expressed significant frustration and sadness for only securing third place, trailing behind veteran champions Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, at the British GP.

Red Bull's Dr. Helmut Marko conceded post-race that Hamilton was a deserving winner after a three-year winless stretch, noting, "You could see his strength in terms of tyre management that shows how much experience and speed he still has."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes' chief, acknowledged the praise gratefully.

"It's always nice when you get feedback from someone who knows what they're doing," Wolff responded to Kronen Zeitung when informed about Marko's comments. "And Helmut knows what he's doing. The great rivalry fades into the background when we are two Austrians who stick together when the going gets tough."

Following the race at Silverstone, Norris openly criticized McLaren's strategic decisions, indicating they did not perform as expected.

But when questioned if he felt personally "ready" to consistently outpace drivers like Hamilton and Verstappen, Norris responded, "I don't know. I mean, I'm not making the right decisions, you know. I blame myself for not making some of the right decisions. I hate it," he disclosed.

"I hate ending in this position and forever having excuses for not doing a good enough job."

Ex-F1 driver Christijan Albers pointed out that the crucial difference between Norris and seasoned champions like Verstappen and Hamilton was evident in their strategic involvement during the race. "They just decide," he told De Telegraaf. "Norris is a mega-talent, that's beyond dispute, and we don't have to discuss that. But he just doesn't have the same level of thinking and feeling as Lewis and Max.

"He's definitely not at that level yet. He always makes a lot of mistakes," Albers explained. "Max and Lewis' laptimes were also fluctuating by a tenth or so, but with Norris, it was different. He wasn't consistent."

Ralf Schumacher also commented on the situation, suggesting that McLaren's resurgence as a top team is revealing some immaturity. "It's a question of mutual assistance between driver and team," he explained to motorsport-total.com, referring to the poor strategic decisions made at Silverstone. "The driver and the team have to exchange information. How well did that happen in this case?

"I don't think Lando Norris is ready for such a fight yet," Schumacher observed, despite Norris recently emerging as Verstappen's likely closest contender for the 2024 title. "It could also be a structural problem," he continued.

"Perhaps Norris simply does not have a strong enough race engineer," the former Williams and Toyota driver speculated. "He (Norris) is also still very young. We saw how angry he was with himself, with the bad decisions he made - and that he wants to continue to grow. And yes, these moments are part of the growth process," Schumacher concluded.

Meanwhile, Italian journalist Mario Donnini was less forgiving in his critique. "Same old story," he wrote in Autosprint. "Nice guys never win.

"Since Miami, Lando Norris has had the best car of the lot, and yet in seven races in which he was playing with the best hand of cards, he has won only once. He is the least successful and effective top driver in the recent history of the sport," Donnini asserted.

"In F1, as soon as you have the best single-seater, you have to pulverise everyone - otherwise you're done for."

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