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  • Confident Lando Norris Sets Sights On Challenging Max Verstappen At Imola

Confident Lando Norris sets sights on challenging Max Verstappen at Imola

Lando Norris says his maiden Formula One win has provided him with the platform to challenge Max Verstappen for the world championship.

McLaren driver Norris ended his losing streak at the 110th attempt in Miami a fortnight ago – celebrating with a 24-hour party that took in two rounds of golf at Augusta National.

Norris trails Verstappen by 53 points after the opening six rounds but, speaking ahead of this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, he said: "Does it give me more hope that I can challenge them (Verstappen and Red Bull)? One hundred per cent.

"We had an upgrade in Miami and it helped us but even without the upgrade we would have been good there.

"I know Max sustained damage in the race and people use that as a reason for him not winning but even before that happened we were quicker than him by a huge chunk.

"If I am not confident, people say I am not confident enough and if I have a bit of confidence, people say I am over confident. But we are getting closer and closer. And I know as soon as we attack some of the issues we have, we can challenge them.

"I accept where we are and I think we are the third-best team behind Red Bull and Ferrari but that could change if we have another good weekend here.

"And I am confident that with our rate of development, which is better than any other team on the grid, by next year we can challenge for wins and, in the big picture, hopefully challenge for the title."

Norris rearranged his travel plans to stay in Miami an extra night and celebrate becoming the 21st British driver to enter the F1 winner's circle before jetting 600 miles north to Georgia – the home of the Masters.

Norris, 24, continued: "I went to see the team and everyone was having a drink and a good time which was allowed and accepted.

"I then went to have even more fun with some friends. And I went from there to Augusta and played Augusta twice.

"I woke on Tuesday morning and the first time I slept was on Monday night, so it was a long couple of days but it was all worth it."

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