New McLaren junior programme driver and reigning Formula 3 champion Gabriel Bortoleto has claimed that it is Lando Norris’ attention to detail and precision behind the scenes that helps him perform so consistently in his battles with Max Verstappen.
Bortoleto was confirmed as part of the McLaren junior team after clinching the Formula 3 title in dominant fashion. He is now looking to become the latest in a long line of drivers to graduate from that programme into F1. The most recent of those – Norris – has already taught the 19-year-old some valuable lessons.
Norris is enjoying a phenomenal season in 2023, brushing aside any doubts that he could be a potential future world champion in the right machinery. With seven podiums to his name, the 23-year-old has climbed within three points reach of fourth-placed Fernando Alonso in the standings with two rounds to go.
Despite starting the season with the worst car on the grid, Norris is now regularly Verstappen’s closest challenger in the field with McLaren surpassing rivals Ferrari and Mercedes in the development race. So impressive has his form been that six of his seven podium finishes have come from the second step.
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Discussing his learnings from Norris on the F1 Nation podcast, Bortoleto said: “He did an amazing job today, nothing to say. He has been very impressive the whole weekend. I’ve been part of the meetings of the team and I’ve been learning so much this weekend, especially with him.
“He goes so much into details and he’s so precise on everything he says and I’m proud that I have the possibility to be part of McLaren for Interlagos Grand Prix because he’s shown why he’s able to almost match [Max] Verstappen today.
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“He has done an amazing job. He’s the type of guy that speaks a lot in the debriefs but it’s just very important information. It’s not like he keeps talking with no important information for the team or something that will not help the team to get better and better.
“He says that the car is having a problem, but at the same time, he manages to say why, so the team can attack the right way. I think this is very good about him and it was very impressive and for sure it will change my mindset in my next races.”
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