Lando Norris says that beating teammate Carlos Sainz in 2019 is an unrealistic expectation for his maiden season in Formula 1. The Briton will make his debut in just under two months' time at the Australian Grand Prix with McLaren.
Norris was promoted to a full-time driver after Stoffel Vandoorne struggled throughout the 2018 campaign. Sainz was announced shortly after Fernando Alonso's confirmation that he would not return to F1 in 2019 following 17 years in the sport.
And while beating your teammate is a primary goal for most F1 drivers, Norris says that he will focus on learning from Sainz, who boasts four years of F1 experience, rather than aiming to beat the Spaniard.
"I need to do well and show I’m a worthy driver in F1,” Norris said. “I guess for every driver the aim is to beat their teammate. In the ideal world, if I was perfect, I’d be able to beat every teammate that I have, in every race.
“That’s very unlikely to happen, I’m not going to be in that situation. There’s things i’m going to need to learn from Carlos [Sainz] and different drivers and improve as a driver. There’s definitely going to be things that I’m not very good at, things I can improve.
“Of course I want to be able to beat him in some races but it’s very unlikely someone will thrash their teammate every race. It’s my learning year, first year of hopefully many. I want to do well but I need to learn and make progress to become a better driver. In the ideal world I will be able to do well and beat everyone in every race but that’s just a vision."
McLaren has already insisted that it will allow time for Norris to get up to speed. The 19-year-old joins the grid along with fellow Formula 2 graduates George Russell and Alexander Albon.
Norris was tipped as an F2 title favourite prior to the start of the 2018 season but only picked up one victory across the year. However, he says that his past season has taught him to lower expectations and aim to successfully develop.
“I have been able to experience different things to other drivers but F1 is very different. Every year there is big changes and you can’t always be where you want to be. I think that’s something I’ve got to learn and something I’ve learnt already from last year, how you have to develop and progress. To become better as a team.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing