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Lando Norris

Norris eyes Verstappen fight with fresh contender in play

Red Bull has cruised to double championship success over the last two years but looks to be facing a heightened challenge in 2024.

Norris Verstappen Russell
To news overview © XPBimages

Lando Norris believes Max Verstappen's quest for a fourth Formula 1 title this year could be made more difficult by Mercedes' upturn in form.

The Brackley-based squad struggled for much of the opening third of the campaign before showcasing strong pace last time out in Canada.

George Russell took pole position and contested for the victory, which ultimately went the way of Max Verstappen who currently holds a 56-point lead in the drivers' standings.

McLaren has also taken the challenge to Red Bull at recent races, with Norris securing a victory in Miami earlier this season.

With Ferrari also looking to pile the pressure on Red Bull, Norris sees Verstappen's potential for victories becoming much harder.

“I think it's tough,” Norris told media including RacingNews365 when asked if he thought Verstappen could be caught this year. 

“But there are probably more chances and possibilities now, especially if Mercedes are in the fight, more chance to have a bigger swing of points.

“A bad weekend for Max was third or fourth, it could be that it's [now] a fifth or a sixth.

“And if you can be that one guy that wins, within one weekend, you can turn quite a bit of points around fairly quickly.

“So if it goes like that, then I will say there's a higher chance.”

Norris warns against doubting Verstappen

Norris highlighted Verstappen's strength rarely sees him make a mistake but is hopeful the added pressure on his shoulders will invite more opportunities. 

“I think what Max is always going to do, his bad weekend is never going to be a bad weekend, he's still going to score a good amount of points,” he said. “He's just strong in all areas.

“It’s rare that he makes mistakes, it’s rare that he messes up qualifying. But with more pressure now, you never know how that changes. Always with pressure, it’s easier to make mistakes.

“I think it's tough because you can't doubt Max in any area, he doesn't have a weakness outright. It's possible [to catch him] but it's going to need very good car performance and very consistent performance throughout the whole season.

“As you've seen, they've been a little bit more maybe up and down than what we have. 

“So we just need to capitalise on when they’re down and try and be the one car that's at the front and on the up.”

Also interesting:

Join Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding in the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, looking ahead to this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. 

The trio discuss how significant this weekend is in the title fight, whether Red Bull's advantage will return and if Andrea Kimi Antonelli will now make his F1 debut at just 17 years old. Much, much more is also discussed! 

Rather watch then listen to our podcast? Click here.

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