Former McLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa believes the “shadow of his first win” is “costing” Lando Norris, and it’s causing him to over-drive at times.
Norris moved onto 13 career podiums with a sterling second half of the season for McLaren, but now holds a somewhat unwanted distinction in that he has the most podiums and points of any driver without having tasted victory in Formula 1.
It seems only a matter of time before the 24-year-old gets off the mark in that particular area, but faces a formidable obstacle in doing so with Max Verstappen in dominant form throughout 2023.
Pedro de la Rosa: Lando Norris has ‘anxiety’ about need to take first F1 win
Rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri took his first P1 finish in Formula 1 with sprint victory in Qatar, though Norris comfortably out-performed his younger colleague in the Drivers’ standings.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown believes the team has a “superstar” line-up to rival that of the late 1990s and early 2000s with Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, with success hopefully not far away.
Though the team is on an upward trajectory, Norris is yet to win his first Grand Prix – and De la Rosa believes that has caused him to overdrive at times, even though he has the “quality” required to win in his own right.
“I think that what is costing him is the shadow of his first win,” De la Rosa said of Norris on the F1 Nation podcast.
“You know, he’s pushing just because he needs, he wants, he deserves that first win in F1 – and he’s just not driving with that needed timing.
“It will come to him, he has the quality, it’s no problem, but I think that he just needs to pace himself at one point in during the weekend – there’s always a point that he’s overdriving.
“I don’t think he’s under pressure from Oscar. Oscar is very good, he’s obviously a strong teammate, but he doesn’t seem fazed by him.
“He just has this anxiety about ‘I need to win, and I want to win quickly’.”
Sat next to De la Rosa on the same podcast, 1996 World Champion Damon Hill added: “It stings when you’ve been driving for a team, and the new guy turns up and he wins.
“Okay, it was a sprint race, but it’s not how it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be the guy who’s been the most determined, the most loyal, you know, so those things go through your head a little bit.”