Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko has revealed that the team did hold talks with Lando Norris before he committed his long-term future to the McLaren F1 team. The British driver has been a revelation this season, and is fighting for third place in the Drivers' championship behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Norris carried his good form from the 2020 campaign into this season, and has become the leader of the McLaren team despite the arrival of multiple race winner Daniel Ricciardo from Renault. He has finished on the podium on four occasions and in the top five 10 times to sit just 12 points behind third-placed Valtteri Bottas.
The McLaren driver looked to be on course for his first career win in F1 at the recently concluded Russian Grand Prix, but a late downpour took away his opportunity. A wrong pit stop call from the team and the driver saw him drop from first to seventh after leading the way for most of the race.
Marko praised the Briton and revealed that Red Bull did hold talks with him about joining the team, but decided to go another way after he signed a new long-term deal with McLaren earlier in the year. However, despite praising Norris, the Red Bull chief made it clear that he still rates 24-year-old Verstappen as the best driver on the grid, with the Dutchman fighting for his first world title this season.
''We've had talks with him, but he's tied to McLaren for the long term. We are sticking to our own way," Marko said, as quoted on GP Blog.
''Norris has caught my eye before, but Max is still at the top of my rankings because he is capable of making a fast run straight away, in all conditions. He showed that again in an impressive way in Russia."
The F1 circus now heads to Turkey for round 16 of the championship with Hamilton leading the championship from Verstappen by two points.