Lando Norris has taken significant steps forward in the Drivers’ Championship in the 2021 season, developing a staple of consistency over the course of the term. British fans will only want to know whether he can be the heir apparent to Lewis Hamilton and keep Britain at the forefront of Formula 1. Hamilton has been the dominant driver in the sport since his move to Mercedes in 2013, although he was a consistent presence at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings during his days with McClaren.
Norris could be following a similar path, albeit without the breakthrough success that his compatriot enjoyed in his second season in the sport, winning the crown at the age of 23. Norris is a solid pathway at present but could be poised for the leap in the future.
He and the rest of the drivers on the circuit are patiently waiting for their opportunity to strike amid the imperious hold Hamilton has enjoyed over the title over the past five years. Hamilton has been challenged this season, and even a win at the British Grand Prix has not been enough to turn him into the leading contender in the F1 betting odds for the 2021 Drivers’ Championship as Max Verstappen remains in the drivers’ seat.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 18, 2021
At the age of 36, it's safe to say that Hamilton's days on the racecourses are numbered, and even if he remains in the sport there could be an opportunity for Norris to join his fellow countryman at Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas has underwhelmed critics and fans alike for the majority of his career with the German outfit, failing to compete with Hamilton at the top of the standings. Nico Rosberg proved that it was more than possible, not only to challenge but to beat Hamilton for the Drivers’ Championship using the same vehicle. The sport may have suffered as a result of Hamilton’s ease to the crown over the last four seasons. Verstappen’s rise at Red Bull has been welcome, and additional competition from Norris will only benefit F1 as a whole.
The 21-year-old made a breakthrough at the Austrian Grand Prix in 2020 by earning his first podium, although he was not able to add another spot in the top three until the 2021 campaign, placing third in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Further podiums have followed at the Monaco Grand Prix and Austrian Grand Prix, while perhaps even more encouragingly for the Brit, he has not finished outside of the top eight in the first 10 races of the term.
There was a pang of frustration at Silverstone as Norris and his team made the incorrect decision to pit. He had a great opportunity to push for his maiden victory, but the call backfired as he fell behind Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, and Bottas to miss out on a breakthrough win and also a place on the podium on home soil.
P4 and third in the drivers' standings! 💪
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) July 18, 2021
Although disappointing at the time, it will be a great learning experience for Norris to take into future races. He appears to have the composure and the skill behind the wheel to become a great driver, and will certainly have the chance to earn his first victory in the near future. British racing could well have another superstar on its hands to take the mantle from Hamilton.