Lando Norris boost as pundit backtracks on ‘killer instinct’ claim after breakthrough victory

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris celebrates his Miami Grand Prix victory.

Lando Norris became the newest Formula 1 Grand Prix winner in Miami.

Waiting 110 races for his first F1 victory, including a 15-podium run for the unwanted record of most podiums without a win, Lando Norris has finally found his “killer instinct”.

So much so, former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde believes the McLaren driver is the “only driver on the grid” who comes close to Max Verstappen.

‘You’re only saying that because he is winning now’

Norris deleted his name from the unwanted record list with a maiden victory at the Miami Grand Prix where he beat reigning World Champion Verstappen to the line in a straight fight after a Safety Car restart.

Lining up ahead of the Red Bull driver for the restart, Norris survived a Turn 1 attack from Verstappen before scampering away to clinch the victory.

The Briton took the chequered flag seven seconds ahead of Verstappen to record a first-ever Formula 1 win, one that was widely celebrated within the paddock.

Hugs, congratulations and kind words shone down on the McLaren driver, with his performance even changing the opinion of a naysayer or two.

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“With all due respect, I think Norris is the only driver on the grid who could come close to Verstappen at the moment,” former F1 driver Van der Garde proclaimed on the DRS podcast.

Podcast presenter Joost Hofman clapped back: “You’re only saying that because he is winning now.”

Van der Garde replied: “No, if you look at the speed over one lap, the race speed, the tyre management, how he drives and what lines he drives on… that guy is really very good.”

However, Hofman reminded the former F1 driver of previous comments he’d made about Norris where, two weeks before Miami, he said: “Norris doesn’t have a killer instinct.”

Van der Garde responded to that: “Then you don’t come near Max, do you? He had to wait a long time for his first victory. So you also have to gain that confidence and then also get that killer instinct.”

But while he believes Norris could yet challenge Verstappen for more Grand Prix wins this season, the Drivers’ Championship title is a leap too far.

“Well, not for the World title,” he said. “I think Red Bull and Verstappen are the better ones at the moment. He (Verstappen) has the experience to become a champion.

“Norris will not be able to take a shot at the World title (this year).”

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