Gaming came before racing in Norris’ childhood

Jon Wilde
Lando Norris

Lando Norris backs sprint qualifying to attract younger viewers.

Lando Norris has revealed gaming, rather than racing, was his first love as a child growing up.

The McLaren driver enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom after taking up competitive karting at the age of seven and was only 19 when he made his Formula 1 debut at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, scoring his first points only a fortnight later in Bahrain.

Since then, the Briton has continued his upward trajectory and in 2021 will have high hopes of adding a second podium finish to his CV for a McLaren team he helped to finish third in last year’s Constructors’ World Championship.

Norris, who turned 21 in November, is also well known for streaming his gaming exploits on Twitch – and he has revealed the console came before the kart during his childhood.

“Games definitely came first,” Norris told the BBC Sounds Press X to Continue podcast.

“When I was four or five years old, my dad used to play Gran Turismo. He never really got to do any racing himself – he was a cyclist – but he loved racing.

“Growing up, watching him, I eventually got to the point where I wanted to beat him, so then I became very competitive and got into racing.

“We had a little steering wheel with pedals and I would sit on my dad’s lap and have a go.”

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Norris is most definitely among the new breed of down-to-earth F1 drivers to whom the fans, especially the younger generation, can relate – and even interact with.

“A lot of people think I just race cars that go round in a circle and that’s about it,” he added.

“But I think until you really see it – and you’ve maybe watched Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix – you see more behind the scenes and what a driver and a team has to go through to accomplish things.

“Formula 1 is quite tight-knit, not many people get to see the driver’s side of it. I think that’s why I also stream a lot, because people get to just see me.

“I’m just a normal guy who streams and plays games every day. I’m not this magical kind of guy.”

Norris and his new team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, will be trying to give McLaren a flying start to the 2021 F1 season in the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.

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