Sky F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham would love to see Max Verstappen and Lando Norris as Red Bull team-mates, but thinks it is a dream pairing which will remain exactly that.
Verstappen has shot to the summit of Formula 1, establishing himself as the dominant driving force with a record-breaking 19 grand prix wins claimed in F1 2023, his third World title-winning campaign.
Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez managed only two, with the lack of intra-team competition making for a fun topic of debate over who could potentially offer a sterner fight to Verstappen in the second Red Bull.
Max Verstappen and Lando Norris at Red Bull ‘cool’ but not happening
McLaren driver Norris is someone who regularly crops up in such chats, he and Verstappen having commented on the rumours with both open to the idea of being team-mates.
However, Red Bull have consistently made it clear that they do not want two alpha male characters in their line-up, so Pinkham cannot foresee a scenario where we get to watch this dream driving pairing in F1 action.
“I’d love to see Lando in the other Red Bull actually,” said Pinkham, speaking at the Autosport International event. “That would be quite cool.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Norris will be hoping to take the fight to Verstappen nonetheless in F1 2024, Norris’ McLaren team having caught the eye of Verstappen with their mighty performance surge during 2023, as the MCL60 went from one of the slowest challengers to fastest behind Red Bull at times.
However, Pinkham believes another Verstappen masterclass is coming.
“I just think this is the perfect combination of car and driver with Max,” she continued, “and obviously this year is going to be another evolution of the RB19, so I can’t see, I’m afraid to say, many necessarily challenging him, because it just fits him like a glove, he just drives so beautifully.
“And I don’t think we should resent that. I think we should just be pleased that we’re witnessing part of sporting history.”
Pinkham also believes that Norris should be keeping a close eye on his team-mate Oscar Piastri.
Norris did comfortably outscore the young Aussie in his rookie F1 campaign, but Piastri earned a great deal of praise and a McLaren contract extension for him impressive first year, which included holding off Verstappen for the sprint win in Qatar, so Pinkham looks forward to seeing what is to come from Piastri in F1 2024.
“Oscar is pushing Lando on so Oscar could be up there,” she suggested.
“I’ll love to see what Oscar could do this year, because in his rookie year, he proved a lot of points to not only himself, but to his team-mate.”
Norris is contracted to McLaren until the end of 2025 and Piastri 2026 after signing his extension.