Lando Norris backed to challenge for first win in 2023 if McLaren make gains

Lando Norris smiles whilst wearing a hat. Barcelona, May 2022. Credit: Alamy
Lando Norris smiles whilst wearing a hat. Barcelona, May 2022. Credit: Alamy

Jolyon Palmer thinks Lando Norris will be “knocking on the door” for his first race win in 2023, if McLaren provide him the machinery to do so.

Norris was the only non-Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes driver to make it onto the podium during the 2022 season, with the McLaren driver putting himself comfortably as ‘best of the rest’ behind the top six drivers in the standings come the end of the year.

His comfortable handling of Daniel Ricciardo on the other side of the garage also added up to a strong campaign all round for the 23-year-old, though Norris himself feels that just the one podium finish was “not a good enough job” from McLaren after a stronger 2021 season overall.

Norris was voted fifth best of the season by his fellow drivers on the 2022 grid for his performances through the course of the year, and former Renault driver Palmer awarded him ‘Standout Driver of the Year’ in his end-of-year awards.

“It was another stellar season for the McLaren driver, who barely put a foot wrong all campaign to finish comfortably best of the rest in the standings and almost single-handedly take the fight to Alpine in the Constructors’ Championship,” Palmer wrote in his post-season column for Formula1.com.

“The gap between the best and the rest was bigger than anticipated in 2022, something I hope will close up from next season to give more of the midfielders opportunities. But it was only Norris who managed a podium outside of the top three teams, with his drive to third in Imola.

“Out-qualified only once by the departing Daniel Ricciardo, it seemed Norris took his performance to another level, even if the standout moments weren’t as exceptional as last year.

“With a long-term contract in place, he’ll be hoping for a leap in performance from his team next season. If that comes, I expect Norris to be knocking on the door of that maiden race win once again.”

Norris will form the youngest overall driver line-up on the grid next season at McLaren when rookie Oscar Piastri joins the team, following his highly-publicised move to replace Ricciardo at the team – with Norris having earned 122 points compared to 37 for his eight-time race-winning team-mate this season.

Read more: Which team has the most experienced driver line-up in F1 2023?

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