HUNGARORING, Hungary -- McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has tipped British teenage sensation Lando Norris for great things after an impressive first test of a Formula One car in Budapest.
McLaren junior Norris took the team's final young driver slot for the last day of in-season testing, picking up where Stoffel Vandoorne had finished on Tuesday. The 17-year-old enjoyed a thoroughly impressive debut, splitting Ferrari's race drivers and finishing 0.2s behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
Boullier praised the teenager, who is already challenging for the title in his first year of European Formula 3, for how quickly he got to grips with the team's car.
"Lando impressed us all with his maturity, professionalism and speed, and has got to grips very quickly with the car in only his first outing in the MCL32," he said. "His feedback with the engineers has been valuable and accurate, and he's certainly an asset to our test driver line-up - not to mention a potential star of the future. "
McLaren goes into the summer break bolstered by a successful seven days in Hungary, which included a double points finish, Fernando Alonso setting the fastest lap and two days of testing without encountering any major reliability issues. The team's relationship with Honda has been strained this year after the Japanese manufacturer delivered another sub-par engine but Boullier says the events of Budapest were just what was needed going into the summer shutdown.
"I'm pleased to say that today was another very productive and useful day, for both McLaren Honda and Lando Norris. We've completed a good number of laps with no major issues, and we've made great progress with our test programme.
"To follow a strong race weekend in Budapest with two positive days of testing is a great boost for the whole team as we enter the shutdown period, and the information we've gathered will be incredibly valuable for us as we move forward with the development of our package for Spa and beyond.