Ex-Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer believes Lando Norris is the one F1 driver who would be able to challenge Max Verstappen at Red Bull.

Since 2021, Norris has emerged as one of F1’s top performers.

And while that elusive first F1 grand prix victory still awaits him, Norris has been tipped by many to become a world champion.

Norris showcased his immense talent in the second half of 2023, outsourcing every driver on the F1 grid – aside from Verstappen – from Austria onwards.

Austria was when McLaren added significant performance to their F1 car with a sizable upgrade, allowing them to fight for podiums on a regular basis.

Norris’ strong form has attracted the interest of Red Bull, particularly Helmut Marko.

Despite Red Bull’s interest, Norris has committed his future to McLaren until at least the end of 2026.

Szafnauer, who was ousted as Alpine boss in the middle of last year, would “stick” Norris alongside Verstappen if given the choice.

“For me, I love Lewis, he’s done a wonderful job, but he is at a different age in his career,” he said.

“Personally, I would stick Lando next to Max to see what happens. I’m not saying Lando should do that, but you are asking me who can beat Max.”

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Race Day. -

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese…

While the former Racing Point boss overlooked Lewis Hamilton, he had plenty of praise for the seven-time world champion.

“It’s really hard to know. You have to be in the same equipment,” he added.

“But the thing I respect about Lewis is that he works super hard and he is a great racer. It doesn’t matter where he qualifies.

“I watched the last race , and he was behind one of the Alpines saying ‘I can’t catch him’. I am looking at the lap times, and he was right, the lap times were very similar.

“But where did he finish? In the points. He somehow managed to do it. He is a great racer, he doesn’t give up, and the other thing I like about him, he is very respectful on the race track.”