Lando Norris backed by Carlos Sainz Sr: ‘Matter of time’ before his first F1 win

Thomas Maher
McLaren driver Lando Norris expressing an awkward look.

McLaren driver Lando Norris with an awkward look.

Lando Norris’ first win in F1 isn’t far away, according to motorsport legend Carlos Sainz Senior, after finishing just behind his son in Singapore.

The famous ‘bromance’ between Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris is one of F1’s most wholesome storylines, with the former McLaren teammates getting on like a house on fire during their time together at Woking.

While Sainz departed McLaren for Ferrari for 2021, the friendship between the pair has remained strong – and Sainz and Norris were the key players in last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Senior: Lando Norris is one of F1’s best drivers

Racing for the win in the closing stages at Marina Bay, Sainz and Norris found themselves being caught rapidly by the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton as they opted to make the most of a late Virtual Safety Car and gamble on a fresh set of medium tyres.

Recognising the danger, Sainz slowed the pace to allow Norris to latch onto the back of him in order to use DRS as a form of defence against Russell. It was a remarkably rare display of cooperation between drivers from rival teams, albeit not completely altruistic from Sainz – the Spaniard needing Norris to hold back the Mercedes pair in order to give himself the best chance of victory.

With the tactic paying off to give F1 its first ‘CarLando’ podium, both drivers were effusive in praise for each other after a congratulatory hug in the pitlane, and Sainz’s own father has also come forward to praise his son’s friend.

Carlos Sainz Senior, a two-time World Rally Champion and four-time Dakar Rally winner, said it is only a matter of time until the McLaren driver emulates the achievements of his son and becomes an F1 Grand Prix winner.

“I know Lando well from the time in McLaren,” Sainz told Sky Sports at last weekend’s Extreme E round, where his own Acciona Sainz XE team was competing. The 61-year-old opted not to speak about his son’s own achievement in Singapore, saying that he is ‘his own protagonist’ but spoke about Norris’ progress as a racer as the British driver clamours for his first win.

“He’s, first of all, a super driver, and, more importantly, he’s a nice person – it is a pleasure always to spend time with him, to play golf with him.

“I know he’s a good friend of Carlos and, in that circle, I am a little bit closer to him – he’s a super guy and super intelligent.

“He’s, for sure, one of the best drivers out there, and it is just a matter of time [before he takes victory], and I’m sure when it comes [the opportunity], he will grab it, and it will be great for him and all the fans.” recommends

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Carlos Sainz: It’s good to share nice moments with someone you respect

Opening up on their achievement in finishing first and second in Singapore, Carlos Sainz laughed as he pointed out Norris would have eaten him for breakfast if it meant winning the race at Marina Bay, but said it was lovely to share the podium with his friend.

“It always feels a bit better when you have someone that you get on well with and that you respect, both as a driver and as an athlete,” Sainz said.

“As a person, it always feels better to share those good moments. And don’t get me wrong, I think if he had had a chance to pass me at any point he would have gone for it, for the win, but I just knew that that 0.8s/0.9s gap was enough to know that we could play smart.

“But yeah, what was obviously a great moment and we were joking about it and having a good laugh about the weekend and yeah, enjoying the moment.”

Norris agreed with his former teammate, saying that it’s ‘alright for now’ that they had finished in the ‘wrong order’.

“I haven’t much more to add,” he said.

“I think Carlos has said it well, it’s always nice to be on the podium with whoever that you respect and get along with so the first time we’ve been able to be P1 and P2 – it’s in the wrong order! – but it’s alright for now.

“And yeah, I guess we had our first podium in Monaco, we were both there, so yeah, for Carlos to be on the top step is obviously great and he deserves it.

“He’s done a very good job the last few weekends but to be up there too and to share it and yeah, just all of us, we’ve always got along since 2018, 2019 so yeah, always a pleasure and I’m sure and I hope there’ll be more moments like it.”

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