Norris becoming a 'top guy' in F1 after taking 'next step' in Bahrain - McLaren

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According to McLaren, Lando Norris remains on track to become a "top guy" in Formula 1 after taking the "next step" in Bahrain.

The Briton produced an impressive performance at the 2021 season opener, finishing fourth after early battles with new teammate Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc.

It was just another example of how good Norris is, yet he often doesn't get the same hype as other top young drivers like Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and George Russell.

But McLaren boss Andreas Seidl does believe Lando can get to that level.

“I think we have seen all weekend, especially in qualifying and the race, that Lando made the next step,” the German said.

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“It’s something we ought to expect from a young driver, especially in his first years, to make these steps because that’s how you become a top guy in this sport.

“It was great to see how he pulled it off because it really was a very controlled race from his side.

“He pushed when he had to push and he controlled the race when he was in a position to control it.”

Norris himself admits he has been working on trying to extract more by staying within the limits of what the car is capable of.

“I feel like I’ve had to drive too hard like the past couple of years, especially in qualifying, but that has had negative effects and it isn’t as good,” he explained.

“I did a good job [in qualifying] but I felt like I’m punishing myself with some of the things I’m doing with the car.

“After understanding some more, I felt like I could already put it into practice [in the race] and I felt like I was gaining in those areas that I was losing out on.

“I felt like I really did a good job so I’m very happy with it.”

Also positive for Norris was laying down an early marker against Ricciardo by finishing 20 seconds ahead of the Australian in Bahrain.

Something former world champion Damon Hill thinks gives the 21-year-old some early bragging rights.

"The next time they go to a meeting or pre-race briefing Lando will just go, 'Yeah I beat you in the last race didn't I?'" he said on the latest F1 Nation Podcast.

"He's got that in the bank, that's a great start for that relationship because I mean there's no way that Ricciardo is going to be walked over by Lando. It's going to be tight between the two of them.

"But if Lando can take even a few nicks off of Daniel's reputation then he'll have done a fantastic job."