Formula 1: Johnny Herbert calls Lando Norris driver of season so far ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton

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Former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert has explained why he feels Lando Norris is the driver of the season so far, instead of the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Norris has had a fine campaign so far in his McLaren and has really assumed a team leader role this year as he looks to help guide them to a third-place finish in the Constructors' standings ahead of Ferrari, with Daniel Ricciardo taking time, naturally, to adapt to his new surroundings.

Indeed, on an individual level Norris is also in contention to earn third place in the Drivers' championship and that would be some feat ahead of both Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas.

Certainly, it's a decent tip from Herbert to have Norris as driver of the season so far and, in his column for Motorsport Magazine, he expanded on his reasons for his pick, with one of the key factors being an increased level of maturity:

"Lando Norris is my choice for driver of the first half-season in Formula 1 this year. Why? Because there is a wonderful maturity that is starting to appear in him, and it’s a maturity we didn’t see in the past couple of years when he was teamed with Carlos Sainz Jr at McLaren. Now he is with Daniel Ricciardo there’s been a mental change – because they are not friends. Lando doesn’t want to be a friend and that’s the right attitude to have. You have to be cut-throat at some point.

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"Lando was so friendly, bubbly and chatty when he first came into F1, and he still is – but he has something now that wasn’t there before. Yes, McLaren has improved, but it’s Lando who has been the real standout. He’s delivering the goods consistently. He’s up against Daniel and yet it’s Lando who is getting the best from the car and in this first half of the season there has been a massive shift for everybody to see."

Certainly, Norris has impressed greatly - particularly when so much of the hype at the start of this season was around Ricciardo's arrival.

As a pair, they are one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid and, if McLaren can build on this year's progress and put together a top package in 2022, both will feel as though they can challenge for the biggest prize of all.

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