Amidst rumours Lando Norris could join Max Verstappen at Red Bull it has been suggested the Briton’s way of “quietly going about his business” could prove a challenge for the Dutchman.
Finishing second to Verstappen in five Grands Prix this season, Norris emerged as the Red Bull driver’s closest competitor in the second part of the campaign. Closest of course being relative given Verstappen’s advantage.
His performances led to rumours the Briton had caught Red Bull’s attention and could be the one to replace Sergio Perez when the time comes.
Could Lando Norris take the fight to Max Verstappen?
He, however, has a contract with McLaren that runs through to the end of 2025, one that the Woking team insists does not include an escape clause of any sort.
That has done little to silence the rumours with Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko adding fuel to the fire when he claimed Norris would “suit Red Bull best because of his youthful character”.
But the big question is whether Norris would want to line up alongside Verstappen in a team that many claim favours the Dutchman.
2015 Le Mans winner Richard Bradley believes the McLaren driver’s “quiet way” of getting on with the job could work in his favour.
“When Lando started dominating Daniel [Ricciardo], he always just gets on with his business in a certain way. And I think that will be quite surprising for Max,” he told the On Track GP podcast.
“I think Max can deal with anything right now, and he’s proven that.
“But it will be a very different way to… I think under media scrutiny and stuff he’s behaved very, very well in the past, and so he would just quietly go about his business and we’ll just see.
“We’ll definitely see some competition. Whether he could beat Max, that’s another question, but they’ll definitely be close.”
The risk fo Norris, the appeal for Red Bull
Joining Verstappen at Red Bull comes with huge risks as the triple World Champion has trounced his team-mates, seeing off Pierre Gasly, and Alex Albon and today he’s destroying Perez.
It’s a risk that Bradley reckons Norris could take because even if it doesn’t work out for him, he’d still be “hot property” in the years to come.
“At 25 years old, he knows that even if McLaren come along and offer him a stonking amount of money, that he’s in a position where he’s 25 and even if he goes to Red Bull and it goes badly, he’s still going to be such hot property on the driver market that he will be able to command ridiculous money when he’s 30. He doesn’t need to worry about that,” he said.
And the driver, who’ll be 26 when his McLaren contract expires, will be the right age and maturity to appeal to Red Bull.
“Red Bull will probably learn their lesson by putting the other young drivers that they have in a bit too early,” the Briton added.
“They’ve let Lando mature and take the pressure of being a number one, take the pressure of having to develop a team around him, so that puts him in a much better place than Gasly or Albon were.”