‘It would end in tears’ – Lando Norris predicted to beat Max Verstappen in a ‘straight fight’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen hugs F1's newest race winner, Lando Norris

Max Verstappen hugs F1's newest race winner, Lando Norris

Adamant Lando Norris is on a par with Max Verstappen, Zak Brown firmly believes a straight fight between the two “would end in tears” for one or the other, or even both.

110 races into his Formula 1 career, Lando Norris is finally a race winner having beaten Verstappen to the chequered flag at the Miami Grand Prix.

‘I do think Lando can beat Max in a straight fight’

Gifted, one could argue, a free pit stop through the timing of a Safety Car, Norris lined up ahead of Verstappen for the restart and pulled away from the Red Bull driver.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was quick to point out the damage on Verstappen’s RB20 – the result of an untimely meeting with a bollard – but both Verstappen and Helmut Marko believe McLaren were quicker on the day.

Quick enough for Norris to pull away from Verstappen to take the chequered flag by seven seconds in a well-received victory for the Briton.

Norris’ breakthrough win came in the wake of McLaren’s first big upgrade for the season, the Woking team putting no fewer than 10 new parts on the Briton’s car.

It has pundits salivating over the prospect of further Norris versus Verstappen fights, fights Brown believes his driver could win in equal machinery.

“I do think Lando can beat Max in a straight fight,” the McLaren chief said in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com.

“I think it would be an awesome fight, I think many races would end in tears – for one or the other, or both.

“But I think as far as raw talent can be, I’ve not seen someone faster than Lando.

“I’m sure Max is just as fast, I’m sure some people will disagree and ultimately, we’ll never know until you see them in the same car.”

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They, however, won’t be in the same car for years to come.

While Verstappen has a contract with Red Bull that runs through to the end of the 2028 season, Norris re-signed with McLaren back in January when he put pen to paper on a new multi-year deal.

Touching on his driver’s decision to continue with McLaren, Brown said: “People need to be loyal to their careers, but loyalty will only take you so far.

“But I think he saw the turnaround we made last year, with his belief in Andrea Stella, his belief in the entire team – it’s family, he loves the McLaren brand.

“But, most importantly, I think he has confidence we’re going to give him a race-winning car and last weekend, we did. That has only raised his confidence even further.”

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