Sky Sports F1 Podcast: Lando Norris can challenge Max Verstappen long term, says Giedo van der Garde | F1 News


Ex-Formula 1 driver Giedo van der Garde reckons Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris are the three drivers on the grid who could live with Max Verstappen’s pace; Van der Garde and Tom Bellingham feature on the latest edition of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast

Lando Norris is “the one” over the longer term who is capable of challenging Max Verstappen’s domination of the sport, believes Dutch former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde.

Speaking on a special Verstappen-focused edition of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, Van der Garde named former champions Fernando Alonso, 42, and Lewis Hamilton, 38, as the drivers who could go toe-to-toe with his countryman with identical equipment.

But he believes Norris, who at 23 is two years younger than even Verstappen, is well on the road to falling into that exclusive category too.

“If you have to pick a couple of drivers who can come close with the same car and the same team, you speak about Fernando Alonso – look at the performance he did again last weekend, he was really on fire, and with the experience he has he is still super fast – and Lewis Hamilton,” said the former Caterham and Sauber driver.

“The same [as Fernando]. He is very, very good.

“And, who I rate very highly, Lando Norris.

“I think he is the one maybe in a few years to become very, very close to Max Verstappen.”

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Norris has been linked with the Red Bull seat next to Verstappen in the past, particularly before the recent resurgence seen at McLaren, where he is contracted to the end of 2025. The Woking outfit are also targeting their own tilt at F1’s world titles again in future seasons, which could pitch Norris into direct combat with his friend Max.

Two-time champion Verstappen is currently on a record-equalling run of nine consecutive race victories and fast racing towards a third drivers’ crown, with his advantage over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez a staggering 138 points.

Van der Garde, a friend of the Verstappen family who has known Max since childhood, said: “At the moment he’s such on a different level compared to everybody else. Look at all the team-mates he had in the last couple of years, he destroyed everybody.

“I rate Perez quite highly, he was my team-mate in GP2, and he did a very good job with all the other drivers he has been racing [against] in Formula 1.

After a challenging Dutch GP, former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde believes Max Verstappen drove his strongest yet.

“But he has a tough time [against Verstappen]. Of course, it’s a mental thing sometimes because if you have a driver who is always quicker, always fast, always pulls three, four, five, six tenths or even more [on you] in qualifying, it just hurts mentally and that’s a little bit what’s happening.

“Perez is a good guy, he’s quick, and at the beginning of the year when he’s in the flow he’s doing a wonderful job. But once he gets the real Max Verstappen next to him, he is struggling.”

Next up for for Formula 1 is Monza, the Temple of Speed, which is the last European race of the season. All sessions from the Italian GP will be live on Sky Sports F1 from this Friday. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW for just £26 a month for 12 months. Cancel anytime

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