Revealed: The unique skill Lando Norris shares with ‘very smooth’ World Champion

Thomas Maher
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and Lando Norris, McLaren, celebrate. Silverstone, July 2023.

Lando Norris held off Lewis Hamilton to take P2 at Silverstone.

Lando Norris has been deemed to have a very similar driving style to a recent Formula 1 World Champion, with unique characteristics…

The McLaren driver may not yet have won a Formula 1 Grand Prix, but McLaren’s recent upswing in performance means that Norris is slowly but surely becoming a realistic threat to break that duck before the end of this season.

With Norris’ reputation firmly cemented as one of F1’s brightest young talents, despite fortune having not quite gone his way for a race win just yet, his driving style has been compared to an F1 World Champion whose driving style was famed for its precision and technique.

Peter Windsor: No one better than Jenson Button when it came to throttle application

Speaking on his own YouTube stream, former Ferrari UK and Williams team manager Peter Windsor spoke glowingly about 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button’s driving characteristics.

“He was very smooth, very, very smooth,” he said.

“Like [Sergio] Perez, incredibly good with power application and in traction episodes, you know when it was important to get the power down smoothly and well and look after the rear tyres, Jenson was brilliant.

“As I understood it, and you can certainly hear it on the track, there was nobody better than Jenson when it came to the perfection of throttle movement against the brake.

“He had virtually no overlap unless he wanted to create the overlap – brake against throttle – he was absolutely perfectly synchronised with his feet. Incredible footwork. I think that’s one of the reasons he was very good in the wet and semi-wet and also had very good steering inputs.

“I don’t think he was as good as Kimi [Raikkonen] or Lewis [Hamilton], if there was a problem with the back end and it just suddenly came out, like with crosswind – I don’t think that was Jenson’s forte. He would always leave a little bit of margin if the back end was a bit unstable. I think that was probably his weakest point.

“He never went well at Silverstone, as a good example of that, because there’s typically quite a lot of crosswind and it’s quite high speed. It was never a great race for Jenson, but he was brilliant at many other circuits, including Spa, obviously. A lot of that is to do with just very, very supple inputs.”

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Lando Norris’ style ‘very similar’ to Jenson Button

Reflecting on the current field of F1 drivers, Windsor said Button reminds him most of Lando Norris in terms of their precision.

“Jenson] was a very similar driver to Lando, I think,” he said.

“I’m not sure Lando is as good as Jenson was, in terms of throttle application, power application.

“Jenson was so good in that area. I think it’s difficult for anybody, apart from Perez, really to put their hand up and say that.

“But I think, in other ways, he was quite similar to Lando, the way Lando drives, and very, very rarely did you see Jenson with any sort of spike in his inputs or with a car appreciably out of line, just really good.

“Just great feel, fingertip touch in the wet because he was so supple and soft in the way he drove and the right foot and the brilliant foot coordination he had, still has probably!”

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