The occupation of the second Red Bull seat alongside Max Verstappen has always been uncertain, with drivers of varying experience levels coming and going. Team Advisor Helmut Marko has often expressed his opinions on the matter, but he wasn’t opposed to the idea of welcoming Lando Norris to Red Bull. However, Norris’ recent progress has changed Verstappen’s stance on the potential transfer.
Norris and Verstappen share a close friendship and connection, both on and off the racing circuit. Their skills and interactions in the public eye showcase their strong bond. These aspects may have influenced Marko’s lack of objection to the transfer. However, even though Marko was convinced, Verstappen surprisingly does not envision a future with Norris as his teammate at Red Bull. It appears that Norris’ impressive comeback has unsettled him.
Verstappen recognized Norris’ skill and expressed curiosity about the possibility of partnering with him. Nonetheless, he made it clear that such a collaboration is presently not feasible. It remains uncertain whether Verstappen’s remarks allude to Norris’ enduring contract with McLaren or if he is apprehensive about being outperformed by a talented youngster in equal equipment.
In the FP1 session at Monza, Verstappen was the fastest, achieving a time that was unbeatable by any other driver. Norris secured the seventh position, trailing behind Verstappen and both Ferraris. With Mercedes and Aston Martin also in contention, Norris will face a tough challenge against Ferrari on their home turf.
Verstappen has rejected Norris’ possible transfer to Red Bull, even though Marko was initially open to the idea. Verstappen’s impressive performance in FP1 indicates that he is not easily intimidated by his competitors. The Qualifying session tomorrow will provide further insight into the level of competition.