Lando Norris wants to prove his worth for McLaren in the forthcoming Formula One season

Lando Norris
Lando Norris

Lando Norris wants to prove his Formula One stripes by beating his McLaren team-mate at every race next year.

The 19-year-old will become Britain's youngest grand prix driver when he takes to the grid at the first round of the season in Melbourne on March 15.

Norris will partner Carlos Sainz, a driver with more than 80 grands prix under his belt, in a new-look line-up for the struggling McLaren team.

But speaking in his first official commitment as an F1 driver, Norris said: "My ideal aim is to beat Carlos at every race, and in every qualifying session.

"That is an unrealistic goal to set at the moment but I will do the best job I can and complete as much preparation as I can to be ready for it."

Norris boasts an impressive junior resume, and is viewed as the best British prospect since five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton burst on to the scene for McLaren in 2007.

Hamilton made an emphatic mark on the sport by coming within one point of winning the title, and upstaging his team-mate, the reigning two-time champion Fernando Alonso, in his debut campaign.

But - following McLaren's demise in recent years - Norris will be aware that his credentials are set to be judged against team-mate Sainz, who arrives at McLaren after three years with Red Bull's junior team, Toro Rosso, and a season at Renault.

"Every year when I have gone into a new series, my team-mate will have had one, maybe two seasons in that discipline, whereas Carlos is heading into his fifth year in F1," added Norris. "So, that's a big difference.

"There are also some circuits I haven't been to before - Singapore, Montreal, Melbourne - and tracks like Monaco where it is not always easy to be super-quick in an F1 car straightaway. But, of course, I would like to beat him, and that is my aim, and my goal."

The arrival of Norris in F1 marks an exciting period for British motor racing with George Russell, 20, also set to make his debut for Williams next year.

Russell beat Norris to the Formula Two championship - F1's feeder series - this season, ushering in the start of a new domestic rivalry.

But Norris, speaking at the launch of the McLaren OnePlus 6T phone at the team's headquarters in Woking, admitted he will be wary of his compatriot's displays next year.

"I don't think George being in F1 will ease the pressure on me," he added.

"If anything there will be more pressure knowing that there is another guy you can be compared to. If he does really well and beats me in some areas it will be a bad thing for me.

"If I was the only rookie then I can't be compared to anyone other than my team-mate, and I could look like a hero even if I am doing really badly.

"But it's a good thing he is in Formula One and I do look forward to the races next year, wherever we are on the grid."


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