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F1's history boy Norris is looking to hero Hamilton for inspiration

 

By Ed Elliot

Lando Norris hopes to emulate four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton as he prepares to become the youngest Formula One driver in British history.

Norris, who turns 19 in November, will follow in the footsteps of compatriot Hamilton by joining McLaren as a rookie for the 2019 season.

He will team up with Spaniard Carlos Sainz to represent Britain's most successful team after Fernando Alonso announced his retirement and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne was dropped.

"I think it's nice to be compared to such a good driver. I have admired Lewis since I started watching Formula One because I know how good a driver he is and I know how hard it is," Norris said.

"And for him to have done as well as he has done is pretty impressive.

"Hopefully one day I can have as many championship wins as he has. But I think more of my focus is on next year rather than thinking what could happen."

Current world champion Hamilton was aged 22 when he burst on to the scene for McLaren at the season-opening 2007 Australian Grand Prix.

Jenson Button was given his big break by Williams when he was just 20 at the turn of the century, but Norris will now eclipse them both when he takes to the grid in Melbourne on March 17.

His opportunity comes after he impressed in the McLaren car during recent practice sessions at the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix.

The current Formula Two driver has no concerns about making the step up at such a tender age.

"It doesn't matter if I was older - 20, 21, 22, whatever - I think I would still do the same job," he said.

"It feels good that they believe in me, that's very important."

The 18-year-old was notified of his promotion by McLaren CEO Zak Brown in Monza at the weekend.

"It was slightly unexpected," Norris added.

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