Lando Norris addresses Red Bull links with Max Verstappen McLaren offer

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen speaking with Lando Norris after qualifying. Britain July 2023

Max Verstappen speaking with Lando Norris after qualifying. Britain July 2023

While Lando Norris loves the sound of battling Max Verstappen in equal machinery, he joked that the Dutchman should come to McLaren once he gets bored of winning.

F1 2023 has very much belonged to Verstappen and his Red Bull team, the Austrian outfit boasting a perfect record of 12 grand prix wins from 12, with Verstappen taking 10 of those.

He now goes into his home race, the Dutch Grand Prix, knowing victory from pole will make it nine wins in a row, thus equalling the record set by Sebastian Vettel with Red Bull back in 2013.

Lando Norris offers McLaren invitation to Max Verstappen

Norris and McLaren are part of that congested chasing pack alongside Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin looking to eliminate the gap to Red Bull out front, though Norris has regularly been linked with a switch to Red Bull, their advisor Helmut Marko recently saying he could see Norris as a team-mate to Verstappen down the line.

And asked by Ziggo Sport if he would consider joining Verstappen at Red Bull, Norris decided to have a little fun and turn the tables, jokingly suggesting that since he would love the chance to test himself in the same team as Verstappen, the Dutchman should come and be his team-mate at McLaren instead.

“I would love an opportunity to do it in the future,” said Norris. “Maybe when Max is bored of winning he can come to McLaren.”

Norris followed-up by claiming he would not become the second driver alongside Verstappen, as “if you lose to him you’re the second driver”, so was therefore pressed on whether he did feel he actually could get the better of Verstappen as his team-mate, something which Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and now Sergio Perez have all failed to do in recent times.

Norris said such a statement would be impossible to make right now.

“I’d like to think so,” he said. “It’s impossible to say yes or no.

“I’m not the guy that has so much confidence that goes ‘yeah, easy’. I think it’s impossible. I don’t think anybody ever can just go ‘yeah, I can beat Max’.”

The reason Norris says this is because, to his mind, Verstappen is one of the greatest drivers Formula 1 has ever seen, and as the Dutchman marches towards his third World Championship title in as many years, Norris says we should all revel in the quality of racing we are seeing from Verstappen.

“He is one of the best drivers you’ll ever see in Formula 1,” Norris stated. “Even when he is winning, be happy that you are witnessing what he is able to achieve because I don’t think many people can do a similar thing.

“But I do want to believe that I will be able to race and compete against him and give him a fight.”

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Max Verstappen loving his Formula 1 domination

While Norris and McLaren intend on taking the fight to Verstappen in the coming years, should he remain untouchable at the summit of Formula 1, then the chances of him giving up that dominant machinery for a greater challenge is extremely slim.

That is because dominating the sport suits him just fine.

Asked by Sky F1 whether he prefers the current situation or the competition of the epic 2021 title fight brought by Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen replied: “I have a lot more fun now.

“This is what I like to do, I like to win. I like to dominate. I like to work with the people I’m working with.

“It’s very enjoyable and I always want more. People think it gets boring for me when I’m leading but absolutely not, that’s what I wanted to do from a very young age and I always wanted to be there.”

Verstappen holds a 125-point lead over Red Bull team-mate Perez at the top of the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the Dutch GP.

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