Young McLaren star Lando Norris has had an impressive start to the revised 2020 Formula 1 season, and the 20-year-old will be looking to extend his good form into his home races.
Lando Norris started 2020 on fire, chalking up his first Formula 1 podium on the opening race weekend in Austria, before following that up with a fine fifth place on the same Red Bull Ring circuit the following week.
While struggling in the most recent race in Hungary, finishing in 13th place and failing to score, he still managed to qualify eighth on the grid in wet conditions, ensuring he has made it into the third and final qualifying session in every race so far in 2020.
With that being said, an argument can be made that there has been an element of luck to Norris’s fourth position in the driver standings at the time of writing. He has had to capitalize on the misfortune of others to make his mark, but he has made sure that he has been in the right place at the right time to do so. And that’s the mark of a great driver.
Rewinding to the opening weekend in Spielberg, Norris’s podium was simply heroic: taking advantage of safety cars, making a risky late move on Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, even before realizing Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton had a five second time penalty, and making a late charge that included the fastest lap of the race on the final lap.
While Norris had to bide his time a little more the following weekend, he was there to take advantage when it mattered again. Charging from 17th place on the grid, Perez was hunting down Red Bull’s Alex Albon for fourth before a collision three laps from the finish damaged the Mexican’s front wing. He lost fifth to — guess who — Norris in the final corners of the last lap.
Fast forward a week to Hungary, and it was a slightly more tricky weekend for the Brit. It started off fairly well, as he managed to capitalize on wet conditions to qualify in eighth place. But a bad start meant Norris lost six positions and was 14th by the end of the opening lap. He couldn’t recover despite a damp start to the race and finished in a lowly 13th, a race he admits he “screwed up” with the “worst start of [his] life”.
With the exception of that error which cost him last time out, the youngster will be looking to carry an encouraging start into the two races in Great Britain, with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit this Sunday followed by the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix a week later on the same circuit. Both races are set to be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 9:10 a.m. ET.
However, with that being said, the 18-turn, 3.661-mile (5.892-kilometer) Silverstone road course is a power-dependent track, outlined by Mercedes’ dominance on this track since 2013. Norris and the Renault-powered McLaren may need a bit of luck, like in the opening two races, to get something out of the next couple weekends.
In the first of Friday’s two practice sessions, the McLaren drivers finished in 12th and 13th place, with Carlos Sainz Jr. edging out Norris by three thousandths of a second. In the second, while Sainz managed to secure sixth, Norris was almost four tenths of a second off of his time, languishing in 11th.
But those are practice sessions after all and they aren’t always representative of who’s quickest. Even if McLaren do need a sprinkle of luck, Norris will be there to collect the scraps, and maybe more, at his home track.