Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have third driver to worry about – ‘He’s on the level’

Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children (SHORT VERSION)

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McLaren boss Zak Brown believes his driver Lando Norris is on the “same level” as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, particularly when it comes to speed in Formula One. Norris has been one of the stand out drivers this season, spending the first half of the year scoring points in consecutive races, picking up four impressive podiums in Imola, Monaco, Austria, and Monza.

Running consecutively in fourth in the driver standings for much of the season, Norris has slightly dropped off the pace to the latter part of the year, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez leapfrogging the 21-year-old by a single point ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.

However, his performance has received lavish praise from his boss, who signed a fresh multi-year contract to extend his stay at McLaren for 2022 and beyond.

“Lando first came on my radar in 2014. I think he can be counted among the best drivers now,” Brown said in an interview with De Telegraaf.

“He’s on the level of Verstappen and Hamilton. Maybe not in terms of experience, but definitely in terms of speed.”

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Earlier this season, Norris claimed if he had equal machinery, he could take the fight to Hamilton and Verstappen this season, who are currently embroiled in a tense battle for the world title.

Since joining the grid in 2019, Norris has gone from strength to strength, and with the right package under him, believes he could be world champion.

“I want to say yes but it doesn’t mean I’m just better than every driver on the grid or anything like that, I’m not saying that,” stated Norris.

“I just feel like with how I have done this season I am driving at a level that is capable of winning races and maybe one day a world championship.

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“Maybe I’m not at the all-out level, but I feel I am doing a lot of things right, and with some small improvements, I can be a bit more confident in my answer.

“I’m at a level where I would say I could go up against Lewis or Max and – I’ve got to be careful how I say it, not say I could 100 per cent beat them – but I could give them a run for their money and I could give it a good effort.

“I haven’t always been the most complimentary guy to myself, giving myself the respect I feel I should get sometimes.

“I always put myself down a lot and am harsh on myself but I think that sometimes I feel I should be the opposite and give myself confidence.

“With how I feel I have done so far this season, I feel if I was in a car capable of winning races, I feel like I could.

“Whether it’s in the wet conditions, the dry conditions, I feel I am driving at the moment in a very good manner. I feel I am on top of my game, doing a lot of things right and doing myself proud in a lot of ways.”

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