McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl believes Lando Norris built his way up to becoming a “complete driver” in the second half of 2019.
The British driver delivered a solid rookie season in F1 in 2019, beating in-form team-mate Carlos Sainz 11-10 in the qualifying battle and becoming one of the most lovable personalities on the grid.
It’s no surprise then that he is highly rated in the sport with FIA president Jean Todt recently naming him as a Lewis Hamilton of the next generation, and Seidl is also an admirer after seeing his prospect work his way up to becoming a “complete driver” come the second half of 2019.
“For Lando as a rookie, it is clear to see that he was simply building it up over the course of the season,” Seidl told RACER.com.
“He was quick straight out of the box in Melbourne, he went into his first ever qualifying and ended up in Q3, which proved that it was the right choice to go for him and showed what a talent he is.
“At the same time it’s normal that he took his time also in order to build up experience and get more and more aggressive in the races — especially the race starts, where he took it more conservatively at the beginning of the season, because it’s important that he finishes the races to build up experience.
“Then I would say from the second half onwards he was a complete F1 race driver, because when you see the starts that he has done, how he’s doing the races, it’s impressive. He was simply a bit unlucky with technical issues and so on, which were many times in the way of big results.”
For Norris next season the goal will be to add more points to McLaren’s Constructors’ tally.
Sainz secured P6 in the Drivers’ Championship with 96 points, compared to Norris’ 49, but Seidl argues that both drivers had different responsibilities in 2019.
“On Carlos’s side, the situation was a bit different,” said Seidl.
“He was new to the team but you could see that he already has some experience with other teams. So it was important from the first test last year to help develop the car together with the engineers, to give a clear direction.
“He simply was there over the course of the entire season — in both qualifying and the races — and the result you see in the number of points he scored.
“Also, for Carlos we have to keep in mind we also had races where we lost good points with him with technical issues.
“When you look at the result of the qualifying, for example, to have 11-10 (in favour of Norris), it’s something that is great for me to see because it simply confirms that we have two top, quick drivers.”