At the Austrian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris were engaged in a battle for second place. The young Briton was able to hold off Lewis for some time, before Lewis finally was able to pass him.
His performance earned Norris praise from the seven-time champion. Now he explains how the battle helped him gain self-confidence.
“I think it was valuable, and I think it’s something that will definitely help me out in the future when I’m in those kinds of situations again,” the Briton told Autosport.
“And it’s just reassuring to know that if I am there in the future, if I am in that position again, I’m able to compete there and be able to beat him in different scenarios.
“It doesn’t make me believe all of a sudden I can win races and I can achieve greatness. You know, it doesn’t change like that.
“But it’s just when I’m in that position again, I know what I’m capable of doing against someone like Lewis.
“The fight is with Mercedes, and it’s Lewis, which maybe puts that little bit a more pressure on you.
“I’ve been racing people since day one and whenever you have someone behind you, no matter who it is, and they’re quicker than you, you always feel pressure, you always feel like you don’t make mistakes, and so on.
“But, of course, in Austria I was fighting over third or second position at the time, so that also acts as an added pressure to it.
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“I don’t think the fact that it was Lewis changes everything, and it’s like: ‘Oh my God, what do I have to do now?’
“But it makes a very small difference, because you know he’s one of the best drivers in the world and ever in Formula 1.
“So you know, he’s going to be thinking about every opportunity on how to maximise and how to get past me.
“So any slip up I have, makes me more vulnerable than if I’m racing against probably anyone else in that situation.
“So it just forces you to be even more perfect, to concentrate even more and things like that. Which I was able to do for 20 laps until I thought, I’m just ruining my own race now and I got to let him go.
“So yeah, it’s more reassuring, and gives me good confidence in the future when I’m in that position again of I’m racing Lewis or Max or whoever, that I’m comfortable that I can perform well.
“I’m not gonna say I don’t make mistakes under pressure, because I’m sure I will. But I can perform very well and not easily make that mistake or give something up that easy.”
Lando adds that he has grown in his dealings off the track too, and he also credits Hamilton with helping him through his example.
“It’s something that still is surprising and unbelievable in some ways to think, whatever, five years, six years ago, that I wanted to be in this position and seeing the grandstands with my caps on, and my T-shirts on, and the Quadrant flags and things like that.
“You never think that that’s going to be you. And I know it is, so it’s a bit unbelievable in some ways, and I’m still getting to grips with.
“It’s still something that Lewis does very well, because he’s been in it for so long and so on. He’s used his fans, not used in a bad way, but used them to make change and cause impact and things like that.
“It’s something which I’ve been able to do with Quadrant, on mental health with some things I’ve done, plus charities I’ve done on my streams.
“So I’ve been able to use my fans and help guide them and use them to impact things and hopefully for better reasons than not.
“It’s something I need to know how to maximise that and how to make the most of the position that I’m in.
“So not just as a driver and how to do the best for myself, but how to do the best outside of Formula F1 even, and use my following and my fan base in those areas too.
“So yeah, it’s just such a cool feeling. It’s an unbelievable feeling until you kind of come and see it and get to witness it. So it’s pretty incredible.
“Hopefully it will continue to grow and get bigger and I will see what I can learn from it, and try and use to make even bigger impacts like Lewis does,” concluded Norris.