Lando Norris concedes his first season with McLaren will be “very different” to Lewis Hamilton’s given the state of the Formula 1 team.
On Monday, McLaren confirmed Norris as their second driver for the 2019 championship with the 18-year-old signed as Carlos Sainz’s team-mate.
As the most recent British protege to enter Formula 1 with McLaren, comparisons are already been made between Formula 2 driver and Hamilton.
But while Hamilton entered F1 with a race-winning car, today’s McLaren is anything but.
Norris said: “Growing up I’ve watched Lewis and aspired to have some of his attributes, mainly his speed.
“His raw pace is probably the best of everyone on the whole grid, so there are bits you want from different drivers.
“Being compared to someone who could be about to win five World Championships, I don’t think it’s a bad thing as long as you’re getting compared on the good stats, not the bad stats.
“It’s still very different. He came into McLaren when they were doing extremely well. I’ve joined when they are going through a pretty tricky time. Things over the past few years have got a bit lost.
“I think the opportunity of driving next year, as well as Carlos, is a fresh start and what the team needs to get back to where they need to be.”
Acknowledging that McLaren’s chances of taking on Ferrari and Mercedes next season are slim, Norris says his first goal is to get the better of Sainz.
The 18-year-old, who turns 19 in November, acknowledges they’re in for a “tough” first year as McLaren drivers.
“Rule number one is: Beat your team-mate. Apart from that, it is going to be a tough year,” he said.
“We are not going to be winning, or competing against Ferrari and Mercedes. I would like to think we can make a step forward from where we are.”
He added: “They need two young drivers willing to say: ‘We don’t need to win; we don’t want to win within the first two years of joining the team.’
“That is a realistic goal. We are not going to be winning next year or probably the year after. It will probably be a few years.”