‘Lando Norris in second Red Bull would give Max Verstappen proper fight’

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen places his hand on Lando Norris' shoulder during an F1 interview.

Lando Norris: Future team-mate of Max Verstappen?

Former Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson said he would “love” to see Lando Norris taking the fight to Max Verstappen as Red Bull team-mates following his podium finish in Japan.

While Norris’ rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri stole the headlines on Saturday at Suzuka by securing a spot on the front row, it was Norris who shone in McLaren colours during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Passing Piastri at the start and having a good look at Verstappen, the Dutchman held off Norris’ attack and went on to dominate the race to claim victory and seal the 2023 Constructors’ Championship for Red Bull, while Norris secured P2 as Piastri completed the podium, 17 seconds behind the Brit.

Anthony Davidson wants to see Lando Norris at Red Bull

Speculation has flared up again recently that Norris could be a future target for Red Bull, perhaps as soon as 2025 with Sergio Perez’s contract set to expire at the end of 2024, Perez having endured a nightmare weekend at Suzuka.

Forced to pit early for a new front wing after contact with Lewis Hamilton at the Japanese GP start, Perez needed another front wing change when he wiped out Kevin Magnussen at the hairpin during his recovery efforts.

Hit with a five-second time penalty for that, soon after picking up the same penalty for a Safety Car infringement, Perez had retired the RB19, coming back out to serve the penalty and then retire again.

But, if it was Norris in that sister Red Bull, then Davidson reckons it would be a different story in the Red Bull intra-team battle.

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“Lando Norris, what can you say about him? I’d love to see him in the other car at Red Bull, giving this man [Verstappen] a proper fight, because I think he would,” Davidson told Sky F1.

“A great race by Lando today, had such speed, but nobody could touch Max Verstappen.

“He had the car to do it and he utilised it well.”

While Norris had the beating of team-mate Piastri in race trim, it was nonetheless another solid outing for McLaren’s rookie driver, who has now experienced his first visit to the Formula 1 podium.

“Very impressed with Oscar, a rookie, to be there on the podium already in his rookie season,” Davidson concluded.

That double podium provided McLaren with a huge boost in their pursuit of P4 in the Constructors’ Championship, the deficit to Aston Martin having now been slashed to 49 points.

Read next – Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen wins the race and the teams’ title, Perez implodes