Lando Norris believes Lewis Hamilton is 50-50 to win both of the coming Silverstone races and remain unbeaten all season.
The 20-year-old Norris has himself been in good form this year with finishes of third, fifth and 13th to go to fourth in the drivers’ standings despite needing treatment on a sore back and chest.
In a McLaren that has unexpectedly outshone the Ferraris, the Somerset racer even finished ahead of Hamilton in the opening round in Austria, becoming the youngest Brit ever to stand on the podium.
But Hamilton, whose record he beat, has since found his focus to win the last two races in a style that has swept all before him. And Norris, preparing for the Covid-dictated double-header at Silverstone this coming weekend and next, said: ‘Do I expect Lewis to win every race? There’s a 50-50 chance.
‘He is a better driver than Valtteri Bottas, his team-mate.
‘On pure pace, if both Mercedes get off the line well, Lewis has an extremely high chance. He is pretty much racing only one other car on the grid, which is the other Mercedes.
‘It will be very difficult to win every race but I see no reason why he wouldn’t be able to do that unless something happens or he breaks down. If he doesn’t finish first, he is probably going to finish second.’
Silverstone is usually a sea of national support, but this year the official British Grand Prix and the subsequent 70th Anniversary Grand Prix will take place behind closed doors.
Norris made his British GP debut last year. Being so young, his first memory of Silverstone is of Hamilton winning brilliantly in the wet in 2008 to great acclaim.
‘It was very exciting,’ said Norris, a popular figure in the team, who rarely among drivers helps his mechanics dismantle his car post-race. ‘The racing at Silverstone is usually good. But this year it will feel weird going to the home grand prix and not having any fans there.
‘It would have been nice to see even more flags with Norris on them, but I don’t think about that.
‘We call it the home race because of the fans. When they are not there, it is difficult to say that. It has no proper meaning or atmosphere, like it did last year.’
And when it is over, will he lend a hand stripping down his car again?
‘Probably. Helping the mechanics is part of getting to know them. I enjoy it. We have some laughs.
‘The only thing I would be doing is lying in bed watching Netflix. And I prefer to take apart an F1 car than do that.’