Lando Norris is “on the level” of Formula 1 championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, according to McLaren team boss Zak Brown.
Norris, 21, has enjoyed another season of improvement with the British team this year, finishing on the podium at four races and competing at the top end of the drivers’ standings.
The McLaren driver also came close to his first win in F1 at the Russian Grand Prix, but his chances were hit after deciding to stay out in heavy rain in Sochi.
Norris has finished seventh and eighth in his last two races to drop below Sergio Perez into fifth in the standings ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix this weekend, but McLaren boss Brown, who signed Norris as a junior driver when he was 18 years old, has said it won’t be long before Norris is challenging for the championship.
“Lando first came on my radar in 2014. I think he can be counted among the best drivers now,” he told De Telegraaf,
“He’s on the level of Verstappen and Hamilton. Maybe not in terms of experience, but definitely in terms of speed.”
Norris is a point behind Red Bull driver Perez in the standings with five races to go this season, while he holds a 21-point cushion over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
The 21-year-old is also 44 points clear of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, although the Australian ended his wait for a race victory when he finished ahead of Norris at the Italian Grand Prix in September.
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