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December 10, 2021updated 16 Dec 2021 9:40am

Rising Formula One star Lando Norris on his first pay cheque, his inspirational father, and what drives him

By Alec Marsh

McLaren’s rising Formula One star Lando Norris tells Alec Marsh about his love of stickers, his inspirational father and wanting to bring happiness to others.

How much is an ounce of gold?

An ounce.

How did you earn your first pay cheque?

Making stickers for the back of people’s iPhones and for visors on race helmets.

What did you do with the money?

I reinvested, buying better products – so a better sticker machine.

Where is your favourite place?

Home. My house or my parents’ house.

Live to work or work to live?

Work to live. One hundred per cent.

How did you get into motorsport?

When I was four years old I’d watch my dad playing Gran Turismo on PlayStation. Then I got into it. From quite an early age I was competitive and I have an older brother and we would go against each other. That’s what ignited my love for racing. It wasn’t until I was five or six that I started watching Formula One. When I was about seven years old, we went to watch a local karting race in Yeovil. I wanted to have a go and not long after got a go-kart and started driving around some cones at home.

When did you realise this was going to become your career?

When I actually signed the contract to go into Formula One. Until that point I never believed I could be in Formula One. That’s when I thought, ‘This can be my career. This is something I can do, earn a living from.’ Everything until that point my dad supported – I’m very fortunate. He worked very hard to be able to give me those opportunities and to get me to that point and get me into Formula One.

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What is your idea of happiness?

Good question. My idea of happiness is seeing or making other people happy.

Not being world champion?

No. Well… that’s why it’s a good question. There’s plenty of things that would bring me a lot of happiness. When I get my podium, which brings me an insane amount of happiness and joy, the best thing about it is seeing how happy the team are.

What drives you?

The will to be one of the best, to reward myself and the people that I work with.

Which person, living or dead, do you most admire?

My dad. Because he’s been able to put me in the position that I’m in. My dad came to every single race when I was younger. And he’s given me the opportunity to be where I am today and do what I do.

What do you consider your proudest achievement?

A podium in Formula One.

You’re also involved in McLaren’s esports campaign…

My love of racing started on the PlayStation and I have a big interest in e-racing. So whatever I can do to help create a better platform and give people more opportunities and make it more fun to make it a better experience is something I love because I have that kind of passion for it.

Can esports stars of today be real racing stars of tomorrow?

Yes. Not literally tomorrow because it’s taken me 15 years to get to this point, but I definitely think there are people out there who can go from having never driven a car before – only driving simulators – to driving cars extremely well and being champions.

Who is the racing driver who inspires you?

If you asked 95 per cent of drivers on the grid they would say Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna – [or] drivers from around the year 2000. I wasn’t into racing at the time. I didn’t watch lots of racing until I was about six or seven years old, so the guy I actually grew up watching the most was Lewis Hamilton. So, Lewis.

Image: Russ Tudor

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