Lando Norris advised how to handle role in Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen title battle

Norris will have the ‘best seat in the house’ as Verstappen and Hamilton make the run down to the first corner at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Verstappen ‘Will Do Everything’ To Beat Lewis Hamilton

Lando Norris should not be “too cautious” as he prepares to line up behind championship contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has advised.

Norris claimed a surprise P3 in Saturday’s qualifying session as Verstappen secured a vital pole ahead of title rival Hamilton at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The 22-year-old McLaren driver said afterwards that he will have the “best seat in the house” as Verstappen and Hamilton battle in the opening lap with the championship on the line.

Both Verstappen and Hamilton have been warned that any “unsportsmanlike” incidents could result in points penalties, as clashes between the pair have been a theme of the season and could play a part in deciding the title on Sunday.

“I’m very excited to see everything unfold. It is a genuine pleasure to be in this position, see everything that has been going on this season between Max and Lewis,” Norris said.

“To watch the battle and the racing, as I have a lot of respect for them, it gives me the prime position for the view tomorrow.

“I am a bit nervous because I want to stay where I am and watch everything unfold over the first few laps or the whole race.

“But I also don’t want to get involved too much as it could cause controversy. I don’t know whether to go for the move, not go for the move, you tell me?”

But McLaren team principal Seidl has advised his driver to plan for a normal race and continue to be aggressive if he has the chance, even if it disrupts the overall battle for the championship.

“Whenever you are in such situations, the most important thing is to just do the same as you always do,” Seidl said.

“Because if you try to be too cautious, for example going into the first corners, or you try to orchestrate something, you take this intuitive feeling the drivers are having, the experience they are having, and then it starts to get dangerous.

“I think that must be the approach also for Lando. In the end, the objective is clear that we want to score another good result for us as a team, and we want to get back in P5 in the drivers championship with Lando. In order to do that, we need a good result. And that’s how we approach it.”

Verstappen will start on the faster set of tyres after switching to softs during qualifying, with Hamilton on the mediums, which should give him the edge over the long run but leaves him potentially vulnerable heading into the first corner.

Norris, as well as Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz, who start in fourth and fifth respectively, will also start on the softs.

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