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Rising British star Norris set for F1 test after winning McLaren Autosport BRDC Award

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Rising British racing star Lando Norris will enjoy a Formula 1 test in 2017 after winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.

Norris, 17, was champion in both the Eurocup and NEC Formula Renault 2.0 series in 2016, as well as picking up the Toyota Racing Series title in the winter.

The youngster is set to move into the FIA F3 European Championship for 2017, a series that has recently helped launch the careers of Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon, both of whom are now racing in Formula 1.

Norris was shortlisted for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award alongside four other rising British racers, before being named as the winner at the Autosport Awards in London last Sunday.

The award sees Norris receive an F1 test with McLaren during the 2017 season, with the previous winner being Will Palmer, younger brother of current grand prix racer Jolyon.

Other names to have won the award include David Coulthard (1989), Dario Franchitti (1992), Jenson Button (1998) and Paul di Resta (2004).

“I’m honestly overwhelmed to win this prestigious prize that caps off an incredibly successful season for me,” Norris said.

“The McLaren prizes can only help me in my quest to ultimately reach Formula 1. It’s now my job to keep working hard and stay focused to achieve this goal.”

BRDC president and former F1 driver Derek Warwick added: “Lando has had an amazing season, especially considering he was only 16-years-old until last month. He was quick in the GT3 and DTM cars but was absolutely stunning in the Formula 2 single-seater.

“He definitely has a great career in front of him. Lando’s a future F1 driver and I believe a future F1 World Champion.”

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.