Ex-Formula 1 racer Ralf Schumacher believes that while Lando Norris is now Max Verstappen’s greatest threat, an error-prone nature in qualifying is holding him back.
Max Verstappen has set the record-breaking standard in F1 2023, collecting a 17th grand prix win of the season at the Brazilian GP, where only one driver was capable of applying any sort of pressure on the dominant Dutchman.
And that driver is McLaren’s Lando Norris, who claimed P2 finishes in the sprint and Grand Prix at Interlagos, firmly placing himself at the head of the pack chasing Verstappen.
Ralf Schumacher criticises Lando Norris qualy performances
Norris secured pole for the sprint in Brazil, though Friday qualifying had been a far more frustrating experience, Norris failing to capitalise on the pole potential in his McLaren as he managed only P7, promoted to P6 thanks to a George Russell grid penalty.
That was not the first time Norris was left feeling underwhelmed by his one-lap performance, describing it as his “kryptonite” in recent times, which it seems six-time F1 race winner Schumacher agrees with.
Schumacher believes the Brit has a habit of going over the limit in qualifying trim, likening him to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who over the years has been no stranger to frustration after a qualifying shunt.
“Lando Norris has become the number one pursuer [of Max Verstappen],” Schumacher wrote in his Sky Germany column. “But he still makes too many mistakes, especially in qualifying.
“Norris reminds me a bit of Charles Leclerc. However, Norris is doing a great job in the race. Norris’ problem is that he wants too much in qualifying. Then he overshoots and makes too many mistakes.”
Norris made a piece of unwanted history at the Brazilian Grand Prix with his P2 finish on Sunday.
With that result marking the 13th podium finish of his Formula 1 career, Norris equalled Nick Heidfeld’s record for most podium finishes without a victory.
Two rounds remain of F1 2023 for Norris to chase that maiden F1 win which continues to elude him, with F1 2024 then set to be a pivotal campaign for McLaren, arguably the most-improved team on the grid, which has sights firmly set on returning to their past title-winning days.