Lando Norris details key change in relationship with ‘iconic’ Lewis Hamilton

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Lando Norris (McLaren) share a joke at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris share a joke.

Lando Norris has reiterated his admiration for F1 rival Lewis Hamilton, revealing his relationship with the seven-time World Champion has been “growing” in recent months.

As a fellow product of the McLaren driver academy that launched Hamilton’s F1 career back in 2007, Norris has been frequently compared to the 38-year-old in the years since he landed on the grid in 2019.

Norris arrived in the sport at a time Hamilton was dominating, with the Mercedes driver equalling Michael Schumacher’s long-standing record of seven World titles in 2020 before becoming the first driver in history to surpass 100 pole positions and grand prix wins in 2021.

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

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That was the season Norris took on Hamilton for victory in Russia, with McLaren’s strategic misjudgement as rain arrived late on at the Sochi circuit denying him a maiden F1 win.

Earlier that year, Hamilton was heard memorably praising Norris during a race in Austria, describing the McLaren man as “such a great driver” over team radio.

Hamilton and Norris were reunited on track at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, with the latter prevailing in an on-track battle before Hamilton – who remains without a win since the penultimate race of 2021 – incurred multiple time penalties for exceeding track limits.

Speaking to selected media including PlanetF1.com at the unveiling of McLaren’s one-off livery for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Norris has revealed his bond with Hamilton has become tighter in recent times.

Asked to outline how his relationship with Hamilton has evolved, Norris joked: “I think I’ve inspired Lewis in many ways.

“I think it’s growing. I think even over the last couple of months we’ve been chatting a bit more and getting to know each other a bit more.

“I think it’s a pretty cool thing. I have so much respect for him and what he’s been able to achieve in Formula 1 and so [I have] a huge amount of respect for him now.

“I’m not always the guy who asks a lot of questions to these kinds of people to get to know what they’re like and know what they think. I’ll do it in a more subtle way and just try to understand how they think and their thought processes and just understand what makes them them, what makes them special.

“I’m not always the most proactive in going forward and asking or picking people’s brains and stuff like that, which I guess is maybe a better way of doing it, but that’s just not who I am at the end of the day.

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“So I’m just happy to spend time with these people – and when I say ‘people’ I mean people who are at the top of whatever sport they’re in, people that I have a huge amount of respect for.

“It’s growing, I would say. I think it’s difficult when you’re in different teams, you just never [mix]. I’m not the biggest talker either, so it’s not like I chat to any people or anyone really that much, probably only the team-mates that I’ve had and my current team-mates are the guys I speak to the most on the whole grid.

“It’s been very inspiring. He’s the guy that’s part of the reason I’m a Formula 1 driver today, or the reason I wanted to become a Formula 1 driver, so [it’s] weird thinking now I’m racing against him. I raced against him quite a bit last weekend, so it’s very cool.

“It’s an honour to be able to do it at the same time, but this is a relationship that’s growing and changing because where he is in his career and things like that.

“He says he still has a lot of respect for McLaren and I think he still has a lot of love for McLaren, I think he wants us to do well, which is still a nice thing because it’s where he started his career. Wherever you start your career, you owe them something in a way and McLaren gave me that opportunity so I want to do something for them.

“It’s growing, it’s good. Getting to know each other more, which is a cool thing.”

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