Nico Rosberg is in no doubt Lando Norris has everything required to become a Formula 1 World Champion.
Norris has been among the shining stars of the 2021 F1 season so far and is the only driver to have scored points in all of the first seven races.
Not only that, but the McLaren man has recorded two podium finishes already, finishing third at Imola and Monaco, and sits fourth in the Drivers’ World Championship standings with 76 points – putting him 17 clear of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
He has also outperformed his new team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, while the Australian has struggled to adjust to the MCL35M following his switch from Renault. Ricciardo has only 34 points so far to Norris’ 76.
The Briton’s steady progress in his first two seasons has now accelerated and having turned 21 last November, Rosberg feels he has come of age metaphorically as well as literally.
“Lando is in absolutely astonishing form, he’s driving so well,” said Rosberg on Sky F1. “Of course, coming off the high as well of getting a new contract, a new multi-year deal, so he’s really impressive, a great British hope for the future.
“Absolutely Lando has what it takes to be a World Champion. He’s proving it this year more than ever up against Daniel, who’s a phenomenal driver. The way he has been dominating him this year has been really impressive.”
From Ricciardo’s side, even though his start at McLaren has been below expectations, there were signs of things coming right at the French Grand Prix where he finished sixth for the third time this year – arguably his strongest performance as he improved four places on his grid slot even though all 20 cars reached the chequered flag.
Rosberg thinks the former Red Bull man will be shocked to have found Norris such a difficult team-mate to master thus far.
“Daniel has been struggling a lot – last weekend he got a bit closer but he’s still not at his best yet, still having to get used to the car,” said the 2016 World Champion.
“It’s a very unusual situation for Daniel because he’s been really dominant in his team in all the last years, but he’s just struggling to get to grips with the car.
“It’s so horrible when sometimes you just don’t feel the car under you in the way you like, so you just don’t have the confidence.
“At other times, even worse, Daniel is out there thinking ‘wow, that was an awesome lap’, like in Monaco, and then looks at the lap time and is eight tenths away from Lando.
“That’s when it gets really difficult for you mentally as a driver and really not nice. I hope Daniel can find his feet.”