Lando Norris and Max Verstappen first met during their karting days, when they were both aspiring young talents with dreams of reaching the pinnacle of motorsport. Their paths crossed in various junior racing categories and their mutual respect and camaraderie began to take root. Indeed they are considered good friends off the circuit.
As both Norris and Verstappen progressed through the ranks of motorsport, their paths continued to cross. When Norris made his Formula 1 debut with McLaren in 2019, he found himself on the same grid as Verstappen, who was already an established star with Red Bull Racing. Despite the competitive nature of F1, their friendship remained strong and continued to flourish.
Good friends away from the circuit
One of the most notable examples of their friendship came during the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix. The race weekend was marred by adverse weather conditions and both Norris and Verstappen found themselves caught up in the chaos of changing weather and multiple red flag periods. During a rain delay, Norris and Verstappen engaged in a playful exchange on social media, demonstrating their light-hearted relationship even in the midst of a challenging race weekend.
Their interactions both on and off the track highlight the camaraderie and mutual respect that underpins their friendship. Norris and Verstappen are often seen chatting and laughing together during race weekends, despite the intense rivalry that exists when the visors come down. This friendship is a refreshing contrast to the sometimes cut-throat nature of Formula One competition.
Verstappen not surprised by Norris’ performance
Despite admitting that McLaren’s spectacular progress is “incredible”, two-time F1 world champion Max Verstappen insists that he is not at all surprised by Lando Norris’ performance in an updated MCL60.
The McLaren team has had a difficult start to the 2023 season, with both drivers regularly battling at the back of the field at the wheel of a car that is terribly difficult to drive.
McLaren update pays dividends
But since the introduction of a major update from the Austrian Grand Prix onwards, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri have proved highly competitive at the wheel of the MCL60 and scored big points for the British team, while Norris took back-to-back podiums at Silverstone and Budapest on two tracks with very different characteristics.
When asked about McLaren’s progress over the last few races, and more specifically about Lando Norris’ season to date, Max Verstappen said: “I think it’s pretty incredible to see where they were in Bahrain and where they are now.
“I think Lando has performed extremely well as well, but that’s no surprise to me.”
“It’s just nice to finally see that when you have a performance car you can do a good job and end up in second place twice.”
Ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on the last weekend of August, Lando Norris is eighth in the drivers’ championship with 69 points so far this year.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 12, 2023