Lando Norris is my choice for driver of the first half-season in Formula 1 this year. Why? Because there is a wonderful maturity that is starting to appear in him, and it’s a maturity we didn’t see in the past couple of years when he was teamed with Carlos Sainz Jr at McLaren. Now he is with Daniel Ricciardo there’s been a mental change – because they are not friends. Lando doesn’t want to be a friend and that’s the right attitude to have. You have to be cut-throat at some point.
Lando was so friendly, bubbly and chatty when he first came into F1, and he still is – but he has something now that wasn’t there before. Yes, McLaren has improved, but it’s Lando who has been the real standout. He’s delivering the goods consistently. He’s up against Daniel and yet it’s Lando who is getting the best from the car and in this first half of the season there has been a massive shift for everybody to see.
Lewis Hamilton was full of praise for him after Austria and when you hear that from your fellow drivers, especially from a seven-time world champion, you do take it on board and feel good about yourself. You relax, knowing your performance is there and you stop having to think about it. When he’s battling with the likes of Lewis he shows good racing skills. He seems to be the perfect fit right now for McLaren and its development path.