The 2021 Season Showed Lando Norris Can Win The Formula 1 Championship In 2022

McLaren

The 2021 Season Showed Lando Norris Can Win The Formula 1 Championship In 2022

Formula 1

The 2021 Season Showed Lando Norris Can Win The Formula 1 Championship In 2022

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McLaren

In the 2019 season, McLaren promoted Lando Norris from a reserve driver to a full-time driver. This decision is one of the best decisions they could’ve made as Norris has continued to prove them right. In his first season he scored 49 points and finished 11th, and in 2020 he got his first podium finish and improved his points to 97. It’s his 2021 season though that showed Norris has what it takes to become the World Champion in 2022.

It took only the second race into the 2021 season at the Pirelli Gran Premio Del Made in Italy for Norris to get his second podium finish of his career. In that race, he started off in seventh after qualifying, but ended up finishing in third despite the rain and sloppy track conditions. In this race, he showed improvements in taking calculated decisions and it paid off. 

Despite showing consistency through the first three races, the fourth race was not the same at the Aramco Gran Premio De España in Spain. Norris struggled at this track as he qualified in ninth and finished in eighth. He could just not get any rhythm going in the race to be able to figure out how to advance on the track. When this race comes in 2022, it will be one to monitor to see how Norris improves and will be a huge determining factor. The bounce-back instincts for Norris kicked in for race five at the Grand Prix in Monaco. He did not let the pressure from the race in Spain get to him and instead preserved to have a clean race. His clean racing style earned him another third-place finish as he continued to rack up points and held off Red Bull driver Sergio Perez. 

Over the next three races Norris may not have had podium finishes but his racing style kept improving as he continued to finish inside the top five. He showed patience in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to be in the right place at the right time. In the Emirates Grand Prix in France, he made incredibly calculated moves to overcome Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc, and Pierre Gasily to come in fifth. 

During the ninth race of the season at the BWT Grosser Preis Von Österreich in Austria, Norris kept on improving his driving capabilities. He qualified in second, and when the race came he finished by getting another third-place podium spot. Norris did so by again racing clean and taking advantage of when the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers made mistakes. 

Race 14 is when Norris’s next best finish came. He finished in second at the Heineken Gran Premio D’Italia in Italy while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo came in first. While Norris could’ve easily surpassed his teammate for the win being only one second behind him, he held off so his team-mate could get the victory. From there the rest of the season Norris wouldn’t have a finish higher than seventh due to Ferrari making an engine upgrade which outcompeted McLaren. Norris stayed within the seventh to 10th place finish range by pushing his car and making strategic moves that most year three drivers haven’t mastered. 

Despite this and some end-of-year challenges Norris still accumulated 160 points and finished sixth in the driver standings. In addition to Norris improving his driver skills, Formula 1 is implementing new regulations in 2022 and McLaren is redesigning their cars. The goal of the new MCL36 is to be more balanced and perform better in low-speed corners where the previous car struggled last season. With the completely new car design for every team, the reshaped front wing of the car should decrease the loss of downforce allowing for closer racing. This will allow Norris to fully utilize the car to be able to compete with the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari in races he couldn’t in 2021. 

What makes up a Formula 1 championship-caliber driver is one who is patient, makes calculated moves, can push his car to the limit, and is in the right place at the right time. Lando Norris has all of those qualities and has continued to improve from season to season while staying consistent. McLaren’s cars have not been able to compete with Mercedes and Red Bull as of late, but with Norris he has overcome those challenges to have success. With the new car mechanics and the improvements, Norris has shown early in his career are what will earn him the championship in 2022. 

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