Lando Norris was mature enough to let Carlos Sainz (on a softer tyre) straight past him in the Brazilian GP, ultimately facilitating the Spaniard’s first F1 podium at the 101st time of asking.
That Interlagos podium was F1’s youngest yet, with Verstappen, Gasly and Sainz having an average age of 23 years, eight months and 23 days. Further evidence the next gen is truly on the way.
When Vettel won his first GP, at Monza in 2008, the average age of that podium (Vettel, Heikki Kovalainen and Kubica) was 23 years, 11 months and 15 days.
But don’t let Norris’s bonhomie mask his competitive nature. On the slowdown lap, his engineer, Will Joseph, came on the radio: “What you did with Carlos was massively helpful. And that’s noted from us all here.”
“Yes…” Norris replied, “but I mean… I don’t do it out of choice, I do it because I’m shit slow!”
Joseph: “Mate, you’re not shit slow. The hard is just a really tough tyre…” Confirmed, incidentally, by Leclerc, Bottas and Nico Hülkenberg.
As Nico Rosberg said, whenever Hamilton does hang up his helmet, British F1 interests are in good hands.
Timing is everything
I remember Jackie Stewart telling me a lot of years ago that the average Mercedes buyer was in God’s waiting room. F1, he said, would help build a younger customer base. But with six double championships, will Mercedes board chairman Ola Källenius feel that the only way is down? Or will he think that the marketing benefits are as valid as ever?
Renault interim CEO Clotilde Delbos, meanwhile, has said that with former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s ‘Drive the Future’ strategy under the microscope, everything is up for review, including the F1 programme. Not the best time to be struggling to hold off Toro Rosso in the constructors’ championship…
Honda, meanwhile, is only committed to F1 until the end of 2021 and has yet to clarify what it will do beyond that season. What better timing, then, for Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko to be flying to Japan, on the back of Honda’s first F1 one-two since the Japanese GP of 1991?