Lando Norris has played down Lewis Hamilton’s F1 race wins record by saying: “He only has to beat one or two other drivers.”
In comments that fit the tag of ‘damned by faint praise’, the McLaren driver is clearly not one to gush about his fellow Briton’s achievements.
Hamilton, of course, set a new mark of 92 Formula 1 race victories at the Portuguese Grand Prix, putting him one ahead of Michael Schumacher – and you wonder just how many more he will add over the remainder of his remarkable career.
But it’s not something about which Norris chooses to wax lyrical, instead attempting to put perspective on the feat by highlighting how far clear of the rest of the field the two Mercedes cars and Max Verstappen are.
In seven of the 12 races so far this season the podium has been occupied by Mercedes duo Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Verstappen.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) October 26, 2020
Asked for his view on Hamilton’s record, Norris, quoted by RaceFans, said: “I’m just happy for him, nothing more.
“It doesn’t mean anything to me, really. He’s in a car which should win every race, basically.
“He has to beat one or two other drivers, that’s it. Fair play to him, he’s still doing the job he has to do.”
In McLaren’s post-race press release, Norris added: “Congratulations to Lewis on achieving a record 92 wins, it’s a great achievement.”
As for the race itself, Norris was briefly racing Hamilton early on as McLaren fired up their tyres faster than their rivals.
Carlos Sainz surged into a lead he held for five laps until the usual front-runners got up to temperature, with the Spaniard finishing P6 and Norris P13 after a collision with Lance Stroll which was deemed by the stewards to be the Racing Point driver’s fault.
“We had an amazing start, both of us, as a team,” said Norris. “To see two orange cars first and fourth was pretty cool. It was quite a sight, to be honest.
“We overtook quite a few soft-tyre starters, just because we…I actually don’t know what we did. I think we risked quite a bit more on the opening lap.
“It didn’t last very long. But we had a really good start and we put our car in the right position and drove well. I’m happy for what I did as well.”