After a breakthrough campaign this year, Lando Norris believes he is ready to win races and fight at the front in Formula 1 if given the car in 2022.
The McLaren driver has finished on the podium on four occasions and took pole position in Russia, but saw a first victory agonizingly slip away at the same venue after staying out on slick tires as rain fell. But the experience of the past season and the way he has performed leaves Norris feeling prepared for a potential chance to challenge for victories next year.
“I definitely feel much more confident that if I was to fight for a win suddenly in the first race next year, especially after being in the position I was in in Russia, I think I’d feel very confident in that position,” Norris said.
“Of course, I’d still be nervous and whatever but I think I’ll be a lot more confident than if I didn’t have the year I’ve had this year and experienced some of the things I’ve experienced this season. But I feel much more confident of knowing what I’ve got to do when I’m in that position. So I think from that side I’m ready for it.
“But I guess you never know how much better you’re going to do as a lot of it depends on the car and things like that, sometimes you’ve got to be lucky, sometimes you’re unlucky. I worked hard over the winter to make a lot of these improvements. One thing that made me very happy is seeing the improvements actually quite obviously have an affect and take place and show straight away in terms of results.”
Norris will spend part of his winter moving to Monaco — a relocation he admits is in order to maximize his financial return for what could potentially be a short career as a racing driver — and says there are other areas he will work on during the off-season that should see him improve further in 2022.
“Predominantly from a driver confidence, driver mentality point of view, I feel very confident. Whether that means we’re going to do well or not, we’ll just have to wait and see.
“From how I feel and what I’ve learned and things, then I feel like I can continue and make some improvements over the winter again and go into next year starting off how I feel like I’ve ended, which is still better than how I started this season. But the circumstances will just be so different in next year’s car. Maybe you’ll need different driving styles and things like that as it’s going to be a very different car.”