Lando Norris hailed as "clever" for ignoring Mercedes and Red Bull opportunities

Lando Norris is no longer an option for Mercedes or Red Bull - but he made the right decision, he has been told

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Race
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi…

Lando Norris has been credited for committing early to staying at McLaren.

Norris penned a new multi-year deal with McLaren before the 2024 F1 season started - only for the driver market to then explode with Lewis Hamilton's shock move to Ferrari.

It means that Norris is no longer on the table as an option for Mercedes, as a Hamilton replacement, or for Red Bull if they choose to axe Sergio Perez.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff even admitted that Norris and Charles Leclerc (who signed a new Ferrari deal) would have interested him, if they were available.

But Norris has not naively missed an opportunity, Natalie Pinkham told the F1 Nation podcast.

"I don't think so. I think it's a really smart move," she said.

"McLaren are going in the right direction and they continue to do so.

"He played down their chances at the start of the season. I know they lack pace in a straight line. He was frustrated in Saudi.

"But there is something so important about being loyal to a team, sticking to a team, moulding that team around you.

"Lando has been clever, in that respect.

"I'd love to see him in the Red Bull. That would be great to see him perform alongside Max.

"But everything is a risk. You make the wrong move at the wrong time in your career and it can change everything.

"I think [Norris has been] smart."

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has hailed his young and exciting driver duo of Norris and Oscar Piastri as the best combo in F1.

"The best for McLaren is to have two great drivers pushing each other," L'Equipe's Fred Ferret said.

"That's how to grow and become one of the top teams."

Piastri, in his second year in F1, can push Norris to be McLaren's star driver.

"Last year he was brilliant as a rookie," Pinkham said.

"There were a few mistakes but he was laser-focused on ironing them out.

"I feel like, this year, his shoulders are back and he has grown a couple of inches.

"I don't know if that's innate in him or great mentorship from Mark Webber."

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