Lando Norris hails ‘role model’ Lewis Hamilton ahead of his 300th F1 race

Lando Norris has revealed that Lewis Hamilton is the role model he wants to base his Formula 1 career on.

Hamilton, 37, will become just the sixth driver in the sport’s history to compete in 300 races at Sunday’s French Grand Prix.

Norris’ hero growing up was MotoGP great Valentino Rossi, but the 22-year-old’s relationship with Hamilton matured over his three-and-a-half seasons in F1.

Lewis Hamilton will participate in his 300th race on Sunday (Manu Fernandez/AP) (AP)

“It’s an incredible achievement to have been in the sport for so long and to have reached the level that it is,” Norris said ahead of Hamilton’s historic race.

“You always hear the stories of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, and that period was Lewis.

“It can be taken for granted because I do my own thing, but in 30, 40 or 50 years, that’s when I realize that I was lucky to have raced in that time. .

“He’s a model. He showed that you could be seven times world champion and at the same time go and do other things in your life.

“Each of us can stop Formula 1 whenever we want. It’s not like we have to. So you have to respect the fact that he’s been doing it for all these years, while doing good things. other things besides sports.

It’s an incredible achievement to have been in the sport for so long and to have reached the amount he has.

“A lot of people have criticized him for these things. But it’s not like he has to just focus on Formula 1, and I’m sure he’s been trying his best to achieve what he wants. has accomplished.

Norris followed in Hamilton’s footsteps by starting his career at McLaren. The young Briton has, like his compatriot Hamilton, also moved to Monaco.

And Norris said Hamilton was a useful shoulder to lean on when negotiating his final contract with McLaren.

Earlier this year, Norris signed a new £80m deal to keep him with McLaren for four more years.

He added: “I spoke to Lewis more and more. It’s not like we spoke every day, every week or every month, but we had more and more discussions on different subjects. , whether after the pilot meetings or back in Monaco.

“I guess I’m trying to get to know him a bit more. We still lead very different lives. He hangs out in LA and travels a lot and does different things.

“But he’s a nice person from what I know, and he seems to want to help the Brits and the young drivers.

“He gives me advice on different things. He will ask what I expect. He’s been through it all, so he knows which teams are trying to take you out, and what you should take out of the team, what’s hard to pull off and all that contract stuff. He is ready to help if needed.

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Rebecca R. Santistevan