Straight fight between Lando Norris and Max Verstappen could ‘end in tears’

Who would come out on top in a straight fight between Lando Norris and Max Verstappen?

(L to R): Pole sitter Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with third placed Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren in qualifying parc
(L to R): Pole sitter Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing with third…

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has backed Lando Norris to prevail in a straight fight against Max Verstappen but reckons “many races would end in tears”.

Norris finally ended his 110-race wait for a maiden F1 victory at the Miami Grand Prix, capitalising on a timely Safety Car before pulling clear of Red Bull’s Verstappen in the final 25 laps.

The McLaren driver appeared to have the pace to challenge Verstappen prior to the Safety Car and Norris’ performance has raised hopes that he can be a regular challenger over the remainder of the season.

And McLaren boss Brown fully believes Norris has what it takes to beat Verstappen in a straight fight.

"I do think Lando can beat Max in a straight fight," Brown told at the 2024 Historic Monaco Grand Prix.

"I think it would be an awesome fight, I think many races would end in tears – for one or the other, or both.

"But I think as far as raw talent can be, I've not seen someone faster than Lando.

"I'm sure Max is just as fast, I'm sure some people will disagree and ultimately, we'll never know until you see them in the same car.

"But, from everything I can see of Lando, I don't see a faster racing driver out there.

"What's exciting is Oscar [Piastri] can match him. As he gets more experience I think he'll match him more often.”

Brown says Norris’ breakthrough win will help him relax and provide him with extra confidence now that the Briton has finally shaken off the disappointment of his heartbreaking near-miss at Sochi in 2021.

"For sure," said Brown. "There's something about when drivers get their first win.

"I remember from when I got my first win, now you know you've done it [the first win] just relaxes drivers and they don't have to try as hard. In anything, you can try too hard and that kind of works against you."

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