George Russell believes Lando Norris “will surprise a few people” during the 2021 campaign as he prepares to go up against Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren.
Ricciardo is arguably one of the strongest drivers on the Formula 1 grid and arrives at McLaren with something they have not had since Fernando Alonso was part of the team: race-winning experience.
That could give the Aussie somewhat of an edge over his new team-mate, but Russell thinks his fellow Brit, Norris, can take the battle to him.
“I think Lando’s going to surprise a few people,” Russell told Sky Sports.
“He’s in his third season of Formula 1 now and third season with McLaren. He knows the team, knows the car inside out and all of the engineers.
“It’s going to be tricky for Daniel [Ricciardo], coming into a new team and going against a guy like Lando who is incredibly fast and got the experience within that team…so yeah I think he’s [Lando] will surprise a few people this year.”
Don't think I've ever done more laps in an F1 car than we did today! Feeling strong, feeling ready, feeling excited for the season. Let's go have some fun 👊 pic.twitter.com/O44yEUoFMN
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) March 14, 2021
Away from McLaren and back to his own team, Williams, Russell has mapped out their best and worst case scenario heading into the 2021 campaign.
“We have got to be realistic,” Russell said.
“I think worst case scenario we will be in a similar position to last year, which was still a big step up from 2019, and obviously the Ferrari engine [used by nearest rivals Alfa Romeo and Haas] has taken a big step forward.
“Best case scenario I think we are fighting in the midfield. That’s what we are aiming for but it doesn’t mean that’s where we are going to be.
“Ultimately we have no idea how all the other teams have performed over the winter but I think the guys have done a good job and time will tell.”
Russell, waiting in the wings at Mercedes, has also backed Sir Lewis Hamilton to win an eighth World Championship title – but will then have a decision to make as to whether he wants to leave Formula 1 “at the top of his game”.