Lando Norris plotting to steal Max Verstappen fans at Red Bull’s home race

F1 preview: A lap of the Austrian Grand Prix

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Lando Norris has joked he will steal Max Verstappen’s fans at the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend. He said he was “buzzing” to see all the supporters wearing orange in the crowd at the Red Bull Ring.

Orange is worn by Verstappen’s Dutch fans with the Austrian Grand Prix a second home race for the reigning champion. However, McLaren also has a papaya orange colour scheme meaning it is hard to say whether spectators are supporting Verstappen or Norris.

But, the 22-year-old will claim the Austrian following for himself, laughing the crowd was “clearly supporting McLaren”. He said: “It was great to see so many people in papaya this past weekend and I’m buzzing to see all the orange in the crowd this weekend, clearly there supporting McLaren.”

Norris appeared to steal some of Lewis Hamilton’s supporters ahead of last weekend’s British Grand Prix in a hilarious exchange between the pair.

Hamilton came up and stole Norris’ bucket hat, with the McLaren star claiming Hamilton was just “jealous”. Moments later, the crowd cheered as Hamilton walked off and waved to the grandstands.

Sky Sports host Natalie Pinkham said she wasn’t sure whether the cheer was for Norris or the seven-time champion. But, Norris quickly jumped in, adding the fans were obviously behind him.

He explained: “No they’re cheering me, they know it really. Especially all the yellow. The people with the yellow bucket hats. And all the orange as well it’s good to see so much papaya here so thank you very much.” Norris heads to Spielberg after securing just one podium this season.

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But, McLaren are leading the midfield after pulling away from Alpha Tauri at Silverstone. The Briton admitted it was unlikely the team would not be fighting for podiums as he did at the circuit in 2020.

However, Norris said it was possible the team could build on a “solid performance” last week and still score good points. Norris added: “Whilst we may not necessarily be fighting for podiums like in the last two years, there is definitely an opportunity for some good points and to have some fun battles.

“There’s always a great atmosphere and I’m hoping to build on my solid performance at Silverstone. We do still have a lot of work to do but we keep pushing forward and we keep fighting.”

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