Formula One: Can Lando Norris challenge Max Verstappen?

Motorsport Tuesday July 9, 2024 By: Harry Howes

We’ve reached the halfway stage of the Formula One season and it’s business as usual with Max Verstappen seemingly running away with it once again.

But there’s plenty of action to look forward to and Lando Norris has ambitions of launching a phenomenal bid to stop three-time champion Verstappen in his tracks.

F1 standings after 12 races

PositionDriverTeamWinsPodiumsPoints
1Max VerstappenRed Bull79255
2Lando NorrisMcLaren17171
3Charles LeclercFerrari15150
4Carlos Sainz JrFerrari15146
5Oscar PiastriMcLaren02124

Can Verstappen be caught?

If you’ve been following our regular F1 updates throughout the season, it’ll come as no shock to discover that Verstappen is still sitting pretty at the top of the standings.

The Red Bull superstar has won three consecutive titles and looks on course to add a fourth to his collection in 2024. He dominated the track last year, winning 19 of the 22 races. And while the wins have been shared out a tad more this time around, he’s still managed to come out on top in all but five races so far.

We’re only halfway through the season, meaning there’s plenty more action to come and anything could happen in the second half of the campaign. Despite that, it seems incredibly unlikely that Verstappen will surrender his lead.

The 26-year-old is already more than 80 points clear of Norris in second and it would take a catastrophic collapse for him to throw it away from here. Yet stranger things have happened and the chasing pack will still fancy their chances.

One thing that could offer them a glimmer of hope is what could be considered as a rare weakness for Verstappen. While he’s no stranger to winning races, he’s starting to make finishing further down the field a habit when things don’t quite go his way.

He’s finished sixth and fifth in two of the last five Grands Prix, when he would’ve expected to be on the podium. And with the likes of Norris starting to show consistency in his top three finishes, he may sense an opportunity to capitalise on Verstappen’s rare mistakes.

We’re only halfway through the season so there’s still a lot of action to look forward to, with 12 races to go. Next up we head to Hungary next weekend, followed by the remaining European races. From there we’ll have races in Asia and both North America and South America to enjoy, before heading to Qatar and Abu Dhabi for the final Grand Prix of the season.

Hamilton rolls back the years on home soil

It’s fair to say that Lewis Hamilton isn’t quite the force he once was in Formula One. The 39-year-old started the season with faint hopes of eclipsing Michael Schumacher to claim a record eighth title.

Yet after a slow start to the campaign, his championship hopes are all but over for another year. Before the British Grand Prix at the weekend, Hamilton had only broken the top three once this year, finishing third in Spain.

But muscle memory, nostalgia and a roaring home crowd spurred him on at Silverstone to help him win his first race of the season. Hamilton finished ahead of Verstappen to win the British Grand Prix for a record ninth time.

In fact, it was his first Grand Prix win since coming out on top in Saudi Arabia back in 2021. Verstappen struggled with the rain throughout but made a late charge and had leader Hamilton in his sights after edging ahead of Norris.

But Hamilton held him off to win by 1.4 seconds, giving him a day he’ll never forget. The Mercedes driver finds himself way down in eighth in the standings and a title win this year is as unlikely as ever. Yet his performance at Silverstone was a reminder of what he’s capable of and it may just light the fire that could see him finally become the undisputed greatest of all time before he decides to call it a day.

Norris emerges as a contender

While British F1 fans have spent years backing Hamilton, it seems there’s a new kid on the block. McLaren driver Norris is enjoying a remarkable year and finds himself second in the standings.

He achieved a best-ever finish of sixth last year but he’s well on track to better that and looks in good shape to push Verstappen all the way. Aged just 24, he’s a bright hope for the future and could establish himself as a regular contender.

Norris is currently 21 points clear of third-placed Leclerc having achieved seven podium finishes already this season. He claimed his first ever Grand Prix win in Miami back in May, which was sandwiched in between two second-place finishes.

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