[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] LANDO NORRIS: RATED PROTEGE

Monaco this year held special memories for McLaren as the team celebrated 30 years since Ayrton Senna’s legendary 1988 pole lap in the dominant MP4/4 car – and 25 years since his final win there.

But, 2018’s on-track results didn’t match the occasion, 2-time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso retiring with transmission issues and Stoffel Vandoorne finishing down the order in 14th place… 

It was also a case of damage limitation for McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris, a sixth and third place enabling the Brit to retain his lead at the top of the Formula 2 standings.

Regardless, Norris has long been a rapid standout, as a European and World Karting Champion – before he’d even progressed to cars.

SOUNDBITE (English) LANDO NORRIS, 
2014 WORLD KARTING CHAMPION:
"Next year I'm in the new series MSA Formula, it's obviously quite a big step from what I did this year racing in the Ginetta Series, it was more of a stepping stone to get into the car world, the car series.”

Norris proved unstoppable, winning the MSA Formula title, Toyota Racing Series title, Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European and Euro cup, along with the European F3 title last year.

This year, the Brit has also raced at Daytona with McLaren and tested the team’s F1 car at the first in-season test, finishing a highly impressive sixth-fastest overall, and the next step is a race seat.

SOUNDBITE (English) LANDO NORRIS,
RESERVE DRIVER, McLAREN:
“I think McLaren are very happy with Stoffel [Vandoorne] and Fernando [Alonso] at the moment, have to kind of see how this year goes with them, but I would love to be in the car next year.”

With 18-year-old Norris on the horizon, the pressure is now on Stoffel Vandoorne to lift his game against teammate Alonso, especially in qualifying, with the gap between them in Monaco over three tenths of a second.

It’s more likely 2020 is a realistic F1 debut target for Norris, but the Brit is ready now – and on the sidelines, preparing to pounce on any opportunity.