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Zak Brown

Norris 'faster' than Verstappen - Brown

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown believes Lando Norris is faster than reigning drivers' champion Max Verstappen, who has dominated F1 in recent years.

Brown Norris
To news overview © XPBimages

Zak Brown has asserted that Lando Norris is "faster" in terms of raw talent than triple-world champion Max Verstappen but admitted a title fight between the pair “would end in tears".

Norris was able to get the better of Verstappen at the Miami Grand Prix, taking his first grand prix victory in start number 110.

A well-timed safety car banked the 24-year-old a free pit stop and once the race resumed, the McLaren was able to pull away from the ailing Red Bull.

Despite the advantages that played into Norris' hands, the McLaren Racing CEO backed his driver against Verstappen in equal machinery.

"I do think Lando can beat Max in a straight fight," Brown told Motorsport.com. "I think it would be an awesome fight, I think many races would end in tears – for one or the other, or both.

"But I think as far as raw talent can be, I've not seen someone faster than Lando. I'm sure Max is just as fast, I'm sure some people will disagree and ultimately, we'll never know until you see them in the same car.”

'There's something about when drivers get their first win'

McLaren brought extensive updates to Florida, which helped provide the platform for Norris' debut win.

There is the hope that with team-mate Oscar Piastri also being upgraded to the full package at Imola, the pair can start fighting the Red Bulls on a more consistent basis.

In the early stages of the Miami Grand Prix, Piastri was able to keep pace with Verstappen, which helped force him into the mistake that damaged his car - something that aided Norris later on.

"From everything I can see of Lando, I don't see a faster racing driver out there," Brown added.

"What's exciting is Oscar can match him. As he gets more experience I think he'll match him more often."

Ultimately, The American feels that getting his first victory will help Norris elevated his level of performance further still, as McLaren looks to reel Ferrari in for second-place in the constructors' standings.

"There's something about when drivers get their first win," he said. 

"I remember from when I got my first win, now you know you've done it [the first win] just relaxes drivers and they don't have to try as hard. In anything, you can try too hard and that kind of works against you."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying