Over the last two seasons, Norris has emerged as one of F1’s top talents, consistently extracting the most from his machinery.

His performances ultimately made Daniel Ricciardo look ordinary, with McLaren deciding to replace the Australian for F1 2023.

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Hakkinen - who won the 1998 and 1999 F1 world titles - rates Norris among the very best on the grid, alongside Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Speaking to Unibet International, he said: “A very quick driver, he's achieved a lot, or rather he's shown convincing results consistently.

“He's super-talented, no question about it. He's on the same level as Leclerc, Verstappen and Sainz. He's on a very high level speed-wise.”

Like in 2022, McLaren started this season in abysmal fashion, failing to finish inside the top 10.

Norris finished well down the field due to a recurring technical issue, while on his F1 debut, Oscar Piastri was forced out of the race early on.

The Finn believes McLaren need “a couple more years” to turn things around in terms of their performance.

“I don't think McLaren has very high expectations this year,” he added.

“They know their development department, and their sponsors and partners are world-class technology giants. McLaren has their support but the team knows they aren't quite there yet. The result need a couple more years.

“They are in it for the long run and have good partners. Like I said, there might be some results this year but I think the true performance will be seen in a couple of years.”