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Autosport Top 50 of 2023: #3 Lando Norris

6th in Formula 1 World Championship

Top 50 2023 dotcom3

Top 50 Drivers of 2023

Autosport's team of expert journalists got together to try to assess who were the top 50 drivers of 2023. Here are the results.

Outside of the Red Bull-Ferrari-Mercedes triumvirate, Lando Norris was the only driver to manage a podium finish in 2022, with his third place at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. When McLaren limped out of the starting blocks in 2023 with a car in dire need of an aerodynamic overhaul, Norris must have imagined that it would be hard to even match that minimal feat.

But, under new team principal Andrea Stella’s watchful eye, McLaren proved resurgent with its concerted efforts to turn its MCL60 around. Norris had already impressed by dragging the early-season specification to sixth in Melbourne but, when the car was drastically improved by Austria, he hit stratospheric heights with it. His battling with the Ferrari and Mercedes pairs to reach fourth place at the Red Bull Ring was only the beginning.

Leading Max Verstappen during the opening laps of the British Grand Prix laid the foundations for second place at the flag, and McLaren now looked worlds apart from its dismal opening to the season. Norris repeated that finishing position in Hungary too, doubling his podium tally from 2022, and there was more to come after the summer break.

After being a willing accomplice to Carlos Sainz’s DRS-infused winning gambit in Singapore, Norris arguably enjoyed his most impressive race of the year at Suzuka after jumping team-mate Oscar Piastri at the start, and giving his younger team-mate a masterclass in race management at the famously technical Japanese circuit.

PLUS: An apology to Lando Norris

Paired with the precocious Piastri, Norris stepped up his game after soundly beating Daniel Ricciardo in their two years as team-mates. In his fifth year of F1, the Briton has built upon a smooth driving style, and used it to balance raw speed with the need to manage tyres throughout a stint.

The MCL60 required him to break outside of his natural style to get the most out of it, particularly in qualifying – a phase of the weekend he finds less comfortable. But that didn’t stop him from bagging a sprint pole in Brazil, although his Saturday slip in Abu Dhabi produced a self-deprecative quip about his abilities in qualifying.

Norris got everything out of the McLaren when it wasn’t particularly quick; with the turnaround, he enjoyed his most fruitful season yet. If McLaren can continue on its trajectory in 2024, he might finally achieve that long-overdue first win…

 
Can Norris take his first F1 win next year?

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Can Norris take his first F1 win next year?

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