Daily Express


Apart from McLaren and being British, I’ve nothing in common with Hamilton says rising star Norris

- By Matt Maltby

LANDO NORRIS is determined to create his own Formula One legacy, rather than follow Lewis Hamilton’s path to superstard­om.

Fresh from an impressive rookie campaign last year, Norris, 20, is all too aware of how Hamilton’s second season with McLaren fared 12 years ago.

Hamilton bounced back from heartbreak in 2007, when he missed out on a world title in his rookie year by just one point, by pulling off a remarkable title triumph on the final day of the following season.

No other British driver has been able to replicate his exploits since and the 35- yearold, who quit McLaren for Mercedes seven seasons ago, has clinched five more titles to move to within one of Michael Schumacher’s record haul.

But as Norris geared up for the season opener in Melbourne this weekend, he said he pays no attention to comparison­s with his rival.

“I don’t react because I know how much of a different situation I am in compared to when Lewis was with McLaren,” said Norris, whose performanc­es last year helped McLaren to fourth place in the constructo­rs’ championsi­p, their highest finish in the post- Hamilton era.

“They had a championsh­ip- winning car in their first season. He did a lot more testing coming into F1 because you could do a lot more back then. The cars are much harder to drive now than back then too. I remember the first pre- season test with these new cars and Lewis saying they were the hardest cars he has ever driven.

“For someone new to come in, in a more difficult time than ever before and against some of the best drivers in F1 ever, it makes it very difficult.

“There is not much of a comparison. The only comparison is we’re British drivers who joined McLaren. That is the only thing. Everything else is different.”

After winning his first world title, Hamilton went five years without adding another championsh­ip.

But his switch to Mercedes turned out to be a shrewd career decision as the Silver Arrows have dominated the sport since the turbohybri­d engines were introduced in 2014.

And Norris says he will need a similar twist of good fortune if he is




Drivers’ standing: 1st to ever become a world champion. “You have to be lucky with how things go,” he said. “It’s not always down to the driver – you need a good car to win the championsh­ip.

“Lewis always placed himself well with McLaren and then going to Mercedes. As much as I would love to, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be able to do the same as someone else.” Norris is also intent on living his own life away from the track instead of upping sticks for the millionair­e lifestyle in Monaco. The Glastonbur­y driver spent his winter break back home with his family and tends to wind down by enjoying a spot of Topgolf or playing computer games. Norris even recently moved from Guildford to locate himself just a three- minute commute from McLaren’s Woking HQ.

“I like it here,” he said. “At the moment I prefer fun and enjoyment, and that overrides the tax saving of going to Monaco. England is my home. All of my friends pretty much still live here. “If I moved to Monaco, I don’t really know anyone. Maybe in the future but at this point enjoyment is the thing I love and have so I’m sticking with that.”

 ?? Picture: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC ?? NEW KID IN TOWN Norris is determined to make his own name away from fellow Brit Hamilton
Picture: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC NEW KID IN TOWN Norris is determined to make his own name away from fellow Brit Hamilton
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