It goes without saying that McLaren’s Lando Norris is one of the most popular drivers on the Formula 1 grid. And it’s not just McLaren fans who love him, but the F1 community as a whole.
Since stepping onto the Formula 1 scene with McLaren in 2019, Lando Norris has taken the world of F1 by storm. And while he’s been no slouch on the track, it’s often been his antics off track that have caught the eye of young and old fans alike.
Being one of the youngest amongst the current crop of drivers, Norris brings with him a certain freshness and seemingly relaxed attitude often missed in the paddock.
It has been these qualities that have drawn race fans to Norris, whether you’re a supporter of McLaren or not. 2019 saw Norris cop some criticism for being “too jovial or too much of a prankster.” And while Norris has reigned it in somewhat, displaying a slightly more serious side for 2020, it’s his fun loving nature that makes him well, loveable.
Norris has been seen as a favourite of the media, often involving a combination of seriousness where required, but taking the time to make things light and enjoyable. Something which he has continued to do in his personal life with his love of social media, gaming and connecting with his followers.
With the start of the 2020 F1 season postponed due to Covid-19, some drivers took to online gaming and Esports to pass the time and attempt to keep up some kind of racing simulation work. Already heavily involved in the world of video games, Norris took to the challenge of Esports like a duck to water.
Often streaming live footage via his Twitch account and interacting with fans online, Norris quickly gained an almost cult like following. Add to that the recent launch of his own Esports brand, Team quadrant, and Norris has firmly cemented himself as not only an avid F1 driver, but also a gamer.
Norris’ strong bond with outgoing teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. also helped to boost his stock, with the two McLaren drivers one of the more popular pairings across the grid. Competitiveness on the track, yet playful while in each other’s company is something not often experienced in F1 between teammates. Norris contributed these traits to the team’s successful third place in the constructors’’ standings at the Abu Dhabi GP.
“One of most important things in achieving P3 this year was the combination of good mates and good friendship but also how much we are competitive and how much we want to beat each other,” Norris said. “When you put both of them together, it’s the perfect combination to get P3.
“There have been a lot of races this year where we have executed things well as a team. Between us, we have scored much better results because of that. That’s because I respect Carlos, he respects me and we wanted to do the best job for the team. Today demonstrated that perfectly.”
Incoming Australian Daniel Ricciardo will of course team up with Norris for 2021, with a fun yet challenging year expected for the new teammates.
Norris’ rookie 2019 season was nothing to balk at, yet there has definitely been quite the obvious change in the 21-year-olds driving style. With added aggression in both the defensive and offensive aspects of his driving, he has continued to grow and progress as a driver. Putting up a far more solid defence, while also pushing harder in overtake attempts and general racing.
As a young and modern F1 driver, Norris simply put, ticks all the boxes. This is why he is and likely will always be, a fan favourite.