‘Don’t ever say that again’ – Lando Norris shuts down question on Max Verstappen

Michelle Foster
McLaren's Lando Norris chats with Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix.

McLaren's Lando Norris chats with Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Lando Norris snapped at a journalist for calling Max Verstappen his “BFF”, saying “we get along, kind of friends away” but that “is it”.

From playing padel to partying together after Grand Prix weekends, Norris and Verstappen have often been spotted sharing their off-time with one another.

That led to speculation that it’s only a matter of time before the two are racing at the same team with the Briton touted as a future Red Bull driver.

Lando Norris: Don’t ever say that again

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said of that: “He is by far the strongest of the young drivers. He would also suit Red Bull best because of his youthful character.

And it is no secret that Max and he are good friends.”

But not BFFs, definitely not that insists the McLaren driver.

Speaking to the media after the Abu Dhabi season finale, one journalist called Verstappen Norris’ “BFF”.

The Briton snipped back: “He’s not my BFF. Don’t ever say that again.

“We respect each other and we get along, kind of friends away, but that’s it. We just have a lot of respect for one another.”

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McLaren ‘almost there’ to ‘give it a chance’

Friendship, respect, whatever you wish to call it, Norris is intent on beating his not-BFF in the years to come but concedes it won’t be easy.

Red Bull and Verstappen have dominated the last two seasons, winning the championship doubles and 38 Grands Prix, 34 of which were won by Verstappen.

McLaren, though, began to make inroads when they put a heavily revised car on the track in Austria, followed by another big upgrade in Singapore.

Scoring 285 points since the Austrian Grand Prix, McLaren out-scored every other team barring Red Bull.

The Briton acknowledges another “massive step” will be needed if McLaren hope to challenge Verstappen for race wins and World titles.

“Their car is phenomenal,” Norris said to the media including PlanetF1.com. “Red Bull are doing an amazing job as they have done the last few years so for anyone to catch them it’s going to be a massive step.

“Tthey’re not just quicker in pace, they’re a lot better degradation. And Max is one of the best drivers so it’s a tough combination to beat.

“But I feel like we’re almost getting what we need to give it a chance.”

Norris was runner-up in six of this year’s 22 Grands Prix, finishing sixth in the championship having lost to Charles Leclerc at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

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