While the world of motor sports talks about Robert Kubica’s comeback after the Formula One test runs in Budapest, A young man almost overshadowed Poland’s achievements.
McLaren-Junior Lando Norris convinced on his first trip in a Formula One car on the whole line: The 17-year-old completed almost flawless 91 laps on Wednesday. His fastest lap of 1:17.385 minutes did not only bring him second place in the test table behind Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel, but was also almost two tenths faster than the qualifying foundation of Fernando Alonso.
Although the British were allowed to bet on Ultrasoft-Pirellis, which were not available last weekend. But even on supersoft tires, the Formula-3 pilot was on a similar level as the regular riders Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. The Belgian had sat at the wheel on the first test day on Tuesday and burned his fastest lap into the asphalt within a time of 1:17.834 minutes. A more than considerable debut by Norris, who had received the test as a prize for winning the Autosport BRDC Award.
At the end of the test day, there were accordingly satisfied faces in the McLaren box. Today has been a very exciting day for me, which I have been looking forward to for a long time,”the young Englishman cheers. It was very productive for all of us. I was able to handle all the tasks the team assigned me, everything went great!” The 17-year-old quickly got used to the MCL32 in the morning. After familiarizing himself with the buttons and switches on the steering wheel, work on the set-up was soon started.
Eric Boullier: “A possible star of the future”
handling, weight distribution and aerodynamics were on the McLaren team’s test plan, which was able to pass its program without any problems. No wonder race leader Eric Boullier praises his rookie in the highest tones: “Lando impressed us with his maturity, professionalism and speed. He dealt with the car very quickly and gave the engineers valuable and accurate feedback. He is definitely an asset to our driver-line-up, not to mention that he is a potential star of the future,”said the Frenchman.
Many motor sports fans were eager for the debut of the young Brit, who is equipped with large advance drills from the junior classes. At the age of fourteen, he became the youngest KF-class card champion, and one year later he secured the British Formula Four championship. After further success in the Toyota series in New Zealand and the Renault 2.0 Eurocup formula, he received the Autosport BRDC Award in his home country and was included in the McLaren funding programme. Currently, in his first season in the Formula-3-EM, he is in second intermediate rank in batting position to lead Maximilian Gunther.
McLaren-Honda in the wind: Hungary lets hope
58 laps in the morning, another 33 in the afternoon were booked in a Formula-1 car at the end of his first test day. Just once, just before the lunch break, he took a little spin on the track, but he did not damage the McLaren.” At the beginning it was a challenge to get to know the car. But then I felt very comfortable, made many rounds and enjoyed it. Thanks to the team for this chance –the first of many more hopefully,”he already shows himself amazingly tanned.
There are also exceptionally satisfied faces at the team leadership before leaving Hungary. With the six and ten places in the Grand Prix, the fastest race round of Alonso and two almost trouble-free test days, the mood in the battered squad seems to lighten up a bit. Race leader Boullier speaks of a “big push” for his team.
“We were able to complete many rounds without incident and make great progress in our test program. All this is very valuable for the further development of our spa package and the further races,”the Frenchman concluded. In the second half of the season, his team will make key decisions, including staying on as a star pilot Alonso and continuing the partnership with Honda.