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Has Lando Norris made it in to current F1 elite?


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#1 Quickshifter

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:34

I wanted to start this topic earlier but i wanted to have a reasonable spread of races before starting this thread. When we talk about the cream currently we talk about Lewis and Max. They are the benchmark when it comes to everything. I feel Lando Norris was underrated so far because it was perceived that Sainz wasn't the standard he should be judged against. This season Sainz with his quick acclimatizion has shown what a capable driver he is and this gives the context to Norris' performances in 2019 and 2020.

 

Now even Norris' harshest critics will agree he has made a big leap from last season in every single aspect be it raw pace, qualifying, race pace, race craft and tyre management. What we saw today just brought focus to his season so far. To qualify ahead of the best driver of this generation in a works Mercedes is definitely impressive.

 

Yes he is still not a finished article but clearly he is making big strides every time he gets in to the car. Share your thoughts, whether you agree or not..



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#2 FLB

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:34

Yes.



#3 Piif

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:36

Well he certainly seems to have made it. Still needs to grab that win and whitstand the pressure of achieving that, but I have no doubt he can do it. In addition, the kid is just so likeable it's hard not to root for him.


Edited by Piif, 03 July 2021 - 14:39.


#4 Red5ive

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:37

I will admit I didnt think Norris was that special having watched his first 2 seasons. Like many, I thought he would be destroyed by Ricciardo.

 

Now seeing what Norris is doing and how Sainz has started pushing LeClerc, it puts the last 2 years in a bit of a better perspective.

 

Norris has done extremely well so far this season and seems to be maintaining, if not improving on each race.

 

I guess we need to see him do this over a whole season though before calling him one of the "elite" - whatever that might be.



#5 Mat13

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:39

Yep, he’s a weapon.

#6 Risil

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:39

I've felt for a little while that he's the top driver not called Lewis and Max this year. So yes, he belongs in the elite. McLaren's improvement has undoubtedly given him a platform, but he's continually exceeding expectations. Big fan.

I'm also not feeling any of the signs of weakness you saw in e.g. Giancarlo Fisichella and Rubens Barrichello even when they were banging in similar results for similar teams in the late nineties.

#7 prty

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:40

He's of course very good, but rather than a leap, to me it looks like a combination of factors. All cars are very similar to last season cars. But McLaren got an upgraded engine, and was one of the high rake cars. It was already quite good last season, and Austria favors those characteristics due to the need of balancing lots of straights with low speed corners.
Also, Riccardo is doing terrible, which is always going to help perceptions.
Rather that saying he's joined elite this year, I'd say he was already elite, and many people don't realize in F1 there are lots of drivers that are really good and quick, and can get WDCs or not depending on the car they get.

#8 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:42

It was never in doubt.

#9 blacky

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:43

No, not yet. Maybe this years car favours him. Lets wait for the new regs, how he performs. Furthermore RIC is no benchmark currently.



#10 Nobody

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:43

don't talk about it

;)

#11 PEW

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:43

I think it is important to remember that Norris is the second youngest driver on the grid and certainly  has not reached his peak yet



#12 shure

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:44

His one lap pace is electric.  And he's showing more consistency than last year.  I'm not 100% convinced of his competitive hunger in the races, though.  Could be that he was just following orders last week in letting everybody by, to be fair, but I just can't picture a Hamilton or a Max doing that, tbh.  I'd like to see him really going for it in the race instead of playing the percentage game before including him in the elite



#13 ARTGP

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:45

The speed is there. The racecraft is there. Ultimately we just need to make sure the consistency is there which can only happen if we wait the season out. I got the impression that he struggled physically in 2019 and 2020. But this seems to be going in the right direction as he ages and "grows bigger".


Edited by ARTGP, 03 July 2021 - 14:47.


#14 Cliff

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:46

Depends what you mean by elite.

 

I think he's a top 5 driver, but at the bottom of those 5 atm.

 

If you mean by elite that he's now on Max and Lewis level, no not even close.



#15 Paths

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:47

Tier 2 with Mr. Leclerc, but currently ascending.



#16 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:50

Depends what you mean by elite.

I think he's a top 5 driver, but at the bottom of those 5 atm.

If you mean by elite that he's now on Max and Lewis level, no not even close.


Hard to say for certain isn’t it? I doubt either Lewis or Max would be happy if their team told them Norris will be in the other seat next year.

#17 TomNokoe

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:50

Needs a car to challenge on Sundays



#18 aray

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:50

Too early to say,but if he progresses steadily,may be he will be the one closest to Max among new gen.I still believe Russel has little bit higher ceiling than both him and Leclerc.

Edited by aray, 03 July 2021 - 14:51.


#19 Marklar

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:50

I'm a bit chuckling now.

I remember in the winter how 90 % of this forum where questioning whether he is even F1 material and how Ricciardo will blow him away.

The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Give it time, then you will find out.



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#20 Clrnc

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:53

Tier 2 with Mr. Leclerc, but currently ascending.

This, although I would argue Leclerc himself should be tier 1 with a better car. He is more than good enough to fight Max and Lewis on racecraft and pace. 

 

Norris has always been really highly rated in lower cats. He was way better than Russell in a much slower car in F2. Good to see that after 2 years of gaining experience he is up there now



#21 Silverstone96

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:54

He may be but he’s not yet through no fault of his own.

He has a teammate who is woefully off the pace, had sainz still been there it might be a different story.

Until he is in a top car capable of winning races, dealing with the pressure and expectation that comes with that we can’t say 100% he is.

I suspect he will be just fine when that day comes but for now he did brilliantly to get on the front row today, unfortunately for him the McLaren is still so slow it will likely get lapped tomorrow.

Edited by Silverstone96, 03 July 2021 - 15:06.


#22 milestone 11

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:57

It was never in doubt.

I was never in doubt.

#23 ANF

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 14:57

I remember making this post in the 2018 F2 thread which didn't get one like, only dislikes. :p
 

Russell looks like a future Prost or Button and Norris like a future Senna or Hamilton. Albon, de Vries and Sette Câmara look like future competitive sportscar drivers. :)



#24 Piif

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:05

I remember making this post in the 2018 F2 thread which didn't get one like, only dislikes. :p


Nailed it, imo.

#25 P123

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:09

I'm a bit chuckling now.

I remember in the winter how 90 % of this forum where questioning whether he is even F1 material and how Ricciardo will blow him away.

The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Give it time, then you will find out.

 

Yeah, pre-season I thought he would need to up his game, and also improve so he was fast for a whole season and not bits of it.  Otherwise I expected Danny Ric to show him up and Lando to be consigned to the being a bit part player.  Meanwhile, Danny Ric looks completely lost.  I wouldn't have even expected Lando to show as bad as DR presently is.  Which just goes to show that nothing is ever set in stone.

 

But for this season, so far so good.  A bit early to put him up at Max's level for the future, but if this is now the level he can bring every race and every season, then he'll be right there with Max, or Leclerc, or whoever else over the next decade.



#26 GlenWatkins

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:10

He hasn't won a race yet.



#27 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:12

Too early to say,but if he progresses steadily,may be he will be the one closest to Max among new gen.I still believe Russel has little bit higher ceiling than both him and Leclerc.


Of those three/four George is the one with most to prove by far in my opinion. Right now I’d have Lando over George by some margin, but then I’ve felt that way since seeing Lando shine in F3.

#28 Marklar

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:17

Of those three/four George is the one with most to prove by far in my opinion. Right now I’d have Lando over George by some margin, but then I’ve felt that way since seeing Lando shine in F3.

yeah, Norris always felt more special through karting/F3 (he is still the only non-Prema champion in the past 11 years I think?). It only really changed in F2, but here you can also add that Norris didnt had any Pirelli experience and was probably with the weaker team too. And in F1 they are simply not comparable, although his time against Sainz did indicate to me that his potential may not have the ceiling of let's say Verstappen, but perhaps neither of them have.

This will be definitely interesting to see.



#29 Claudius

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:17

I think he is knocking at the door at least. He and Charles are closest to the elite (Max and Ham)

Put Russell into the mix and the future for F1 looks brilliant.



#30 Quickshifter

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:20

What differentiates the elite from great drivers? Their ability to be right on pace in machinery they are not exactly comfortable with. Their ability to drive around the trickier quirks. Their ability to drive a less than perfect car and wring lap time out of it.

Lewis, Max and Alonso are the obvious ones with this ability but Norris and Leclerc are also very good at adapting to the car and not exactly waiting for the car to come to them.

Speed is not the only dimension. Adaptability, versatility and being good in Rain or sunshine also matters. Hamilton and Max are rain whisperers and Norris is pretty quick in wet or changing conditions as well.

I want to make one thing clear. I don't think OVERALL he is still not at their level what i feel is that he has made in to that cozy club even if he is not at their level YET.

Edited by Quickshifter, 03 July 2021 - 15:21.


#31 Disgrace

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:22

I remember making this post in the 2018 F2 thread which didn't get one like, only dislikes. :p

 

Not the worst calls, I guess only de Vries was wrong... until Mercedes pull out of Formula E.   ;)



#32 Fastcake

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:26

Before this year I had Lando Norris as good, but not superstar good.

This year, it’s been a major step up. I’ve been proper impressed with his performances. The McLaren is not the third best car, and I don’t think Ricciardo has been all that bad either (one or two weekends notwithstanding). I’ll always want to see a driver in a top car to see how that handle it before proclaiming them in the ranks of the best, but the potential is there.


Edited by Fastcake, 03 July 2021 - 20:05.


#33 kosmos

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:29

I think more years are needed to make that judgment call.

 

Not the first time someone is raised to the heavens to later fall into hell.



#34 PayasYouRace

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:34

Re OP: You’ve only just noticed?



#35 P123

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:42

Of those three/four George is the one with most to prove by far in my opinion. Right now I’d have Lando over George by some margin, but then I’ve felt that way since seeing Lando shine in F3.

 

I'd say a more correct opinion is that GR has still to be given the chance to prove himself.  At present he's just busy putting his car ahead of faster ones.

 

For me, Norris turned out a bit of a disappointment in F2, and his first two years in F1 didn't confirm the hype.


Edited by P123, 03 July 2021 - 15:44.


#36 apoka

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 15:53

I think he is doing very well, but it's still too early to say (we have to keep in mind how talented the whole field is in F1). He was getting close to Sainz in the past years and is having his best year now. If this continues for another 1-2 years (especially after reg changes), he could be considered a top driver in F1. Overall, he is not as impressive as Verstappen, but very good.



#37 Dalton007

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 16:02

He was something special as soon as he turned a wheel in a McLaren test, which is why he got the drive, just needed time to develop. 



#38 Paco

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 16:24

Lando way way way over Russell.

Future of F1 looking good with Max Charles Lando Russell. Good group for 5-10years.

Edited by Paco, 03 July 2021 - 16:24.


#39 MrAerodynamicist

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 16:47

Considering how much success he had in junior categories, I think people were too quick to cool on him after his F2 year or not paying attention. 
 
2014 - First year in cars, 3rd in Ginetta Juniors
2015 - Champion in the British F4 series. Did a few random rounds in the German and Italian F4 too and came away with a win and a bunch of podiums.
2016 - Managed to win the championship in both Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup then went down to NZ and won the Toyota Racing Series too. Oh and in-between the other stuff he stepped up do a partial season of British F3 and was on the podium 8 times in 11 races.  The final round of the European F3 didn't yield much and 'only 11th' at Macau but I think we can cut him some slack.
2017 - European F3 champion, 2nd at Macau.
 
Yes he got outshone by Russell in F2, but second overall and a win was still hardly a bad year.  In a relatively short time, he drove in championships all over the place and consistently performed. Of course there's no guaranteed that early career performances translate once a driver is in the spotlight of F1 but I believed his performance at the 2018 Daytona 24hrs, car sharing with Alonso, was a sign he wouldn't wilt on a bigger stage.

 
crash.net: How Lando Norris stole the show from Fernando Alonso at Daytona

 

His first two seasons in F1 were not as flashy as some other rookies; perhaps they'd be better credited as methodical. He has certainly avoided too many big blunders. Russell has put in good qualifying performances in a poor car but I'm been less impressed with his ability to take advantage in races. 



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#40 danmills

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 16:52

If McLaren get their act together, I can see them chasing Sainz again on a longer deal after a few sad Ferrari years. The atmosphere of these two was lovely to see.

Tomorrow I am busting to see a mistake from Max or at least see Lando race him at the start. A win this early in his career will be his marker going forwards, but a podium will also do.

Future champion contender.

#41 milestone 11

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 17:15

I remember making this post in the 2018 F2 thread which didn't get one like, only dislikes. :p

I'd have certainly given a like had I seen it.

#42 ForzaFormula

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 17:29

Almost, I think he would of hammered Sainz this year mostly, he was generally faster than him anyway just lacked consistency, I think the arrival of Dan Ric and Merc engine in the car, with the team propelling forward has motivated him and pushed him to a next level that Sainz would not have been able to match at all this season, though Sainz as he is showing is no slouch, pushing Charles very much.


Edited by ForzaFormula, 03 July 2021 - 17:29.


#43 prty

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 17:33

Almost, I think he would of hammered Sainz this year mostly, he was generally faster than him anyway just lacked consistency, I think the arrival of Dan Ric and Merc engine in the car, with the team propelling forward has motivated him and pushed him to a next level that Sainz would not have been able to match at all this season, though Sainz as he is showing is no slouch, pushing Charles very much.

What a coincidence, he wasn't able to beat him in two years together, but the year Sainz left, Norris would have beaten, sorry, hammered him for sure!  :D 



#44 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 17:38

What a coincidence, he wasn't able to beat him in two years together, but the year Sainz left, Norris would have beaten, sorry, hammered him for sure! :D


Pretty sure Norris beat Sainz plenty of times, both on Saturday’s and Sunday’s.

#45 ForzaFormula

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 17:38

What a coincidence, he wasn't able to beat him in two years together, but the year Sainz left, Norris would have beaten, sorry, hammered him for sure!  :D

 

Looks like he's taken a next step up this year though.



#46 Cliff

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 17:55

Looks like he's taken a next step up this year though.

 

I do think this perception is flattered a little by the fact that Ricciardo is absolutely lost. McLaren is the 3rd best car and should be finishing 5th every race as well as pick up the scraps when Merc and RB screw up.



#47 pacificquay

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 17:57

I’d certainly say he’s better than any bar Hamilton and Verstappen and as McLaren progress he will be in the same bracket.

 

Leclerc is fast, but unlike Lando seems to get that speed by going over the limit too often..



#48 Anderis

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 18:15

I remember in the winter how 90 % of this forum where questioning whether he is even F1 material and how Ricciardo will blow him away.

I think you're exaggerating here a bit. I'm sure if you made a poll whether Norris is F1 material, the "no" answers wouldn't get anywhere near as high as 90%. I remember a lot of favourable comments about him in the past 2 years. You might have got mislead by the fact that it's often the people who have the most ridiculous opinions that tend to make the most noise.

 

You have a point though that the "you're only as good as your last race/team mate battle" thing influences the perception of Norris very much right now and maybe some people should calm down.

 

I'm somewhat undecided. I might have underestimated Norris in the past. But will he prove to be a top3 F1 driver? Top6 F1 driver? Or maybe a lower top10 F1 driver? Neither of these would surprise me very much at this point. Ironically, if Ricciardo performed better, I could have been more convinced about Norris being top tier. But with the gap as big, we can be sure there's more to Ricciardo's underperforming than just being shown up by a faster driver, certainly when put in the context of Lando's performances against Sainz and Sainz' performances against Hulkenberg and Leclerc. And Ricciardo's against Hulkenberg.  ;) A nice "Hill-Villeneuve-Frentzen" chain here: Ricciardo>Hulkenberg>Sainz>Norris>Ricciardo.
 



#49 masa90

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 19:09

I must admit I seemingly have underestimated him a bit. Great work sofar!



#50 messy

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Posted 03 July 2021 - 19:25

I think over a single lap, Norris is special. At absolute worst he’s the new Jarno Trulli, at best the sky's the limit. I think he’s able to put in an incredible lap and he seems to thrive on the pressure. You look at him in qualifying and he’s proving quickly that he’s absolutely elite level, I reckon he’d probably outqualify pretty much anybody given the chance. You’d have to say that he’s the nightmare team-mate for Daniel Ricciardo, because he’s legitimately quicker than him - Dan could survive being beaten by Verstappen in 2017/18 because that was Max and he’d beat anybody else, right? Two comparatively ordinary team-mates later and being beaten by Lando isn’t reflecting so well.

In the races, Lando is quite clever and seems to just get his head down and concentrate on just completing the sixty laps in the shortest possible time - but that means he does sometimes look less than forceful in wheel to wheel combat and when things go against him he sometimes struggles a bit to pull himself back up. So there’s room for improvement, but he’s really rapid.