“I can win races and I can achieve greatness”– Lewis Hamilton played a key role in Lando Norris gaining self-confidence in 2021.
Lando Norris is in his third season of Formula 1, and this year he definitely had an impressive start to the season; and until the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Briton scored points in every race in 2021 (the only driver in the grid to do it).
Speaking about his surge in confidence and battling the top drivers in the grid, Norris cites the example of the recent battle against his compatriot Lewis Hamilton during the Austrian Grand Prix, which benefitted in him erasing his self-doubt.
“I think it was valuable, and I think it’s something that will definitely help me out in the future when I’m in those kinds of situations again,” explains Norris.
“And it’s just reassuring to know that if I am there in the future if I am in that position again, I’m able to compete there and be able to beat him in different scenarios.”
“It doesn’t make me believe all of a sudden I can win races and I can achieve greatness. You know, it doesn’t change like that. But it’s just when I’m in that position again, I know what I’m capable of doing against someone like Lewis.”
I will perform under pressure.
Norris then explains that this year he has also learnt to combat the pressure. Though, he also clarifies that he can still make mistakes under them in future.
“The fight is with Mercedes, and it’s Lewis, which maybe puts that little bit a more pressure on you,” added Norris.
“I’ve been racing people since day one, and whenever you have someone behind you, no matter who it is, and they’re quicker than you, you always feel pressure, you always feel like you don’t make mistakes, and so on.
“But, of course, in Austria, I was fighting over the third or second position at the time, so that also acts as an added pressure to it. “I don’t think the fact that it was Lewis changes everything, and it’s like: ‘Oh my God, what do I have to do now?’, but it makes a minimal difference, because you know he’s one of the best drivers in the world and ever in Formula 1.”
“So you know, he’s going to be thinking about every opportunity on how to maximise and how to get past me. So any slip up I have, makes me more vulnerable than if I’m racing against probably anyone else in that situation.”
“So it just forces you to be even more perfect, to concentrate even more and things like that. Which I was able to do for 20 laps until I thought, I’m just ruining my own race now and I got to let him go.”
“So yeah, it’s more reassuring and gives me good confidence in the future when I’m in that position again of I’m racing Lewis or Max or whoever, that I’m comfortable that I can perform well.”
“I’m not gonna say I don’t make mistakes under pressure, because I’m sure I will. But I can perform very well and not easily make that mistake or give something up that easy.”