Why Lando Norris was right to swear at F1 ‘fan’ in viral clip

Matt Hobkinson
Lando Norris

“When are you going to win a race, Lando?”

If you’re an F1 fan you will likely know the clip being referred to here, but for those unaware, this is what happened.

At the Australian Grand Prix, a so-called F1 ‘fan’ shouted the question at Lando Norris as the McLaren star walked past. Norris then turns to the heckler and gives him the middle finger.

On first viewing, it was quite a shocking response from the 24-year-old. Yet sporting stars face such abuse and scrutiny in everything that they do that it is only natural for them to tolerate so much before they bite back.

Norris is without doubt one of the most talented drivers on the grid. It is surely just a matter of time before a maiden victory comes his way.

So why spectators feel like they have the right to shout whatever they like at athletes – a problem that transcends F1 of course – is bewildering.

The McLaren star will be more aware than anyone else that he now holds the record for the most podiums (14) without winning an F1 race.

He came agonisingly close at the Russian Grand Prix in 2021 when he looked destined to convert his pole position to a race win with just a handful of laps left – but then the heavens opened. The rest, as they say, is history.

McLaren have quickly realised that they simply cannot do without Norris after they tied him down to a multi-year contract at the beginning of the year.

If you were to be critical of Norris, an argument could be made that he jumped the gun on putting pen to paper for the deal given that over half the grid will be out of contract in 2025. Yet F1 as a sport is no stranger to mid-contract moves.

Should Norris find himself driving alongside Max Verstappen next year – a duo that many would love to see in action both for their driving abilities and blossoming bromance off the track – you would be hard pushed to envision him failing to win a race.

Although the lack of a grand prix victory will be a monkey on his back, the single-mindedness of the comment hurled at him says more about the spectator than it does Norris’ F1 ability.

Pierre Gasly, for example, has an F1 victory to his name, but – with no disrespect to the Alpine star – I can’t think of a single team that would take the Frenchman over Norris should both be available.

Of course Norris will be desperate to win a race, but for those unable to enjoy watching someone with his level of ability get behind the wheel of an F1 car then quite simply that is their loss.

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