Lando Norris speaks out after claims he could replace Lewis Hamilton

Lando Norris says champagne celebration can 'go wrong'

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Lando Norris pulled no punches when discussing speculation on his McLaren future ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The 23-year-old has been linked with a range of F1’s top teams, including Mercedes, after a discouraging start to the season.

Reliability issues and a fundamental lack of pace saw both McLarens fail to clinch points in Bahrain last time out. New boy Oscar Piastri did not finish at all while Norris crossed the line two laps down to cap off a hugely disappointing weekend of racing. 

The Brit is held to be one of the most talented drivers on the grid, with Sky Sports pundit and former F1 star Karun Chandhok claiming that he would be ‘top choice’ for Mercedes if Hamilton departs at the end of the season. 

Whether luring him away from McLaren, who have Norris under contract until 2025, would even be possible for the Silver Arrows is another matter, but the youngster labelled the links ‘complete BS’ as he remains focused on the season ahead. 

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“I’m at a point where it doesn’t affect me in any way,” he told reporters. “I guess I’m fine with it to an extent, apart from when it’s just complete BS that people try and come up with and completely fake stories that people make up.

“To a certain point, harsh criticism is acceptable. It makes sense. You don’t like it when it’s too much and people in the team start to get affected by it. Especially because maybe for some of them, they don’t understand so much or don’t know so many of the truths.

“But I think we do a good job within the team explaining things to people, telling them what’s going on, explaining my side of the story and things that go on with me, things that go on within teams. It’s tough, it’s the world we live in. It’s just media and what you’ve got to deal with sometimes. So, I’m fine with it, the team is fine with it.”

Links between Norris and Mercedes are unlikely to die down while Hamilton’s future remains unresolved. The seven-time world champion has stalled over signing a new deal as the Silver Arrows lag behind the leaders again this season. 

Time is running out for the 38-year-old to get his hands on a record-breaking eighth world title, and the team already appear to have given up hope on chasing down the top prizes this year. 

Hamilton discussed his future in a press conference this week, easing the fears of Mercedes fans by claiming that he ‘does not plan on going elsewhere’, while urging his team to close the gap on Red Bull and Ferrari.

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