Lando Norris set incredibly high bar for F1 career success after maiden win in Miami

Jamie Woodhouse
A side-profile shot of Lando Norris at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

Lando Norris has enjoyed a strong start to the F1 2024 season with McLaren

Channel 4 pundit and former junior racing rival of Lando Norris, Billy Monger, believes his fellow Brit has to become a multi-time World Champion if he is to realise his potential.

It had been a long time coming, but at last, Norris can call himself a Formula 1 race winner after unleashing a stellar performance in the upgraded McLaren MCL38 to win the Miami Grand Prix.

‘Lando Norris will be disappointed if not multi-time champion’

Despite receiving a helping hand in the form of an ideally-timed Safety Car, there was no fortune involved upon the race restart as Norris defended his lead from Red Bull’s dominant Dutchman Max Verstappen, disappearing into the distance from there to take the chequered flag.

Verstappen admitted post race that he was “very happy to be beaten by Lando” in Miami, while many of his peers were waiting post-race to pass on their congratulations, as Monger – who raced against Norris in the British junior racing categories – said that was a reflection of his personality and ability.

“I think Lando is just that charming character,” said Monger in reference to Norris’ delighted rivals.

“He just doesn’t really make enemies around the paddock. Everyone seems to love him and I think the drivers in particular, they respect his abilities.

“It’s almost a bit of a surprise that it’s taken him this long to win because he’s that good. I think everyone coming up and showing their warmth, their celebrations towards, embracing him, I think that was just a sign of the fact that he’s such a talent.”

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In that regard, Monger said Norris has evolved from a “raw talent” into a “full package driver”, to the point where he feels that should Norris not become World Champion on multiple occasions in his career, then he would reflect upon that as a disappointment.

“I think Lando, from the start, he always had that natural, raw talent,” said Monger. “And I think as soon as he got to Formula 1, that raw talent was there to be seen.

“I’m a little bit surprised the way he’s been able to refine it. And I think for me, he’s become the sort of full package driver, one that I look to for the next few years of Formula 1 and think, ‘He’s got to have at least multiple World Championships on his belt at the end of his career’.

“If he hasn’t got multiple World Championships, I think he’d be disappointed with that.”

While McLaren had brought wide-ranging upgrades to Miami, few expected Norris to deliver that level of performance, with Monger claiming that McLaren’s pace did indeed come as a “shock” to everyone, Verstappen included.

“The race pace of that McLaren surprised me,” said Monger, “and I think we saw that even before the pit stop, when Checo Perez, Max’s team-mate, got out of Lando’s way it felt like and Lando unleash pace.

“He had the fastest lap up to the point where he managed to use the Safety Car to his advantage and get into the lead of the race.

“I think the race pace on that McLaren was a shock to everyone and especially Max, because normally in that situation, you’d expect Max to come back past Lando. We’ve seen that in many grands prix before, where strategy hasn’t quite gone right for Red Bull. But today, Lando made the difference and the pace was incredible.”

Norris is not necessarily out of the F1 2024 Drivers’ Championship picture if Miami was a sign of things to come, his deficit to leader Verstappen coming in at 53 points.

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