Norris fires McLaren warning as he eyes Hamilton and Verstappen battle

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo at 2022 McLaren launch

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McLaren star Lando Norris has warned his own team that they can’t be satisfied with their achievements in 2022, despite recovering well after a slow start. The 23-year-old is tipped as a future world title winner but, to battle with the likes of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, he needs a more competitive car. 

The early signs were ominous for McLaren in 2022 as both Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished well outside the points in Bahrain. Things got gradually better for Norris throughout the season but Ricciardo continued to struggle, which has effectively seen him axed and replaced by Oscar Piastri ahead of next year. 

With Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes clear of the rest of the pack in terms of performance, Norris put together another impressive season to finish seventh in the Drivers’ Championship. That comes as no consolation to the youngster, however, who recently admitted that he hates the term ‘best of the rest’. 

McLaren fell 14 points short on their quest to pinch fourth in the constructors’ standings ahead of Alpine, and Norris has warned his team that they can’t be satisfied with their work if they want to reach the top. 

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“From where we were in race one, I think we’ve done a good job – we recovered well,” he told Sky Sports. “If I think of before this season, did we achieve in 2022 what we should have done as McLaren? Honestly, it’s no.

“If we want to do well and we want to be champions at some point and we want to win races, we can’t be satisfied with where we have been this season, but we can certainly be satisfied with the progress we’ve made. From the mechanics with our pit stops, our strategy, the whole team’s work ethic – so many things are working well, it’s just we need a slightly better car, that’s all.”

Norris signed a bumper new deal with McLaren earlier this year, which looks set to keep him with the Woking-based team until 2025. Despite scoring consistently since making his first foray into F1 in 2019, he is yet to secure a Grand Prix victory having come home second in McLaren’s historic one-two at Monza last year. 

Ricciardo’s disappointing two years with the team has left him without an F1 seat next season, for the first time in well over a decade. By contrast, Norris may have a wealth of options in the future and he refused to shut the door on a potential move elsewhere during the season finale in Abu Dhabi. 

“It’s just faith, it’s just honesty – that’s the main thing I need [from McLaren],” he told Sky Sports. “I’m not a guy who likes BS or likes people trying to make me happy, I like people just being honest.

“I have faith in McLaren, I have faith in the guys I work with, the whole team. Time will tell. You can never be 100 per cent certain where you’re going to be, but you can have a good shot at it.”

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