Lando Norris has revealed Lewis Hamilton is the role model he wants to base his Formula One career on.
Hamilton, 37, will become only the sixth driver in the sport’s history to compete in 300 races at Sunday’s French Grand Prix.
Norris’ hero growing up was MotoGP great Valentino Rossi, but the 22-year-old’s relationship with Hamilton has matured during his three and a half seasons in F1.
“It is an incredible achievement to have been in the sport for so long, and to have achieved the amount he has,” said Norris ahead of Hamilton’s landmark race.
“You always hear the stories of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, and this period it has been Lewis.
“It can be taken for granted because I am doing my own thing but in 30, 40 or 50 years’ time that is when I realise I was lucky to have raced in that time.
“He is a role model. He has shown you can be a seven-time world champion and at the same time go and do other things in his life.
“Anyone of us can stop Formula One when we want. It is not like we have to do it. So you have to respect that he has done it for all these years, while also doing other things outside of the sport.
“A lot of people have criticised him for those things. But it is not like he has to focus solely on Formula One, and I am sure he has put every bit of effort that he can into it, to achieve what he has achieved.”
Norris followed in Hamilton’s footsteps by starting his career with McLaren. The young Briton has, like compatriot Hamilton, also relocated to Monaco.
And Norris said Hamilton was a useful shoulder to lean on when negotiating his latest McLaren deal.
Earlier this year, Norris signed a new £80million contract to keep him with McLaren for four more years.
He added: “I have spoken to Lewis more and more. It is not like we speak every day or every week or month, but we have had more and more chats about different things, whether it has been after drivers’ meetings or back in Monaco.
“I guess I am trying to get to know him a little bit more. We still lead very different lives. He spends time in LA and travels a lot and does different things.
“But he is a nice person from what I know, and he seems to want to help the Brits and the young drivers.
“He gives me advice with different things. He will ask what I am planning. He has been through everything so he knows what teams try to get out of you, and what you should get out of the team, what is difficult to achieve, and all that contract stuff. He is willing to help if needs be.”
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