LANDO NORRIS is the heir to Lewis Hamilton’s throne when the world champion finally decides to hang up his helmet.
Norris, 20, became the third-youngest F1 driver to claim a podium when he finished third in Austria last Sunday.
The McLaren ace turned in a sensational final lap to pip Hamilton to the position in only his second season in F1.
Trevor Carlin, who nurtured Norris’s early career where he had a huge amount of success, has now backed the Brit to continue his climb to the top.
He said: “Lando is the obvious heir to Lewis’ crown as the top British driver.
“When Lewis achieves everything he needs to achieve and steps down, Lando will be at the helm.
“He needs the correct package but McLaren have made incredible steps over the last few months and who’s to say that they cannot be a force in 12 months time?
“He is doing everything right and the results are coming and I am very proud of him.”
Hamilton was catapulted into stardom when he made his F1 bow in 2007 also at McLaren before winning the title the following season.
Hamilton now has six championships under his belt, although his private life and high profile relationships have also drawn criticism.
However, Carlin says he doesn’t believe the playboy lifestyle that trapped Hamilton and Jenson Button will not appeal to Norris.
He added: “Will he change from a lifestyle point of view? Absolutely not. He is not that sort of guy.
When Lewis achieves everything he needs to achieve and steps down, Lando will be at the helm.
“A great example is Sebastian Vettel because he was racing with us in 2006 and 2007.
“I saw him at Hockenheim two years ago when his younger brother was doing an Audi support race and Seb was doing his brother’s pit board.
“I went over and asked him how he was doing and I said, ‘hey Seb, mind if I tell you something?’ He said ‘what?’
“I said ‘you have never changed’. Now, it has been years since he drove for me and is a four time world champion and has all the money in the world.
“He just looked at me and replied ‘why would I need to?’ and I see Lando being exactly the same.
“Lando is the nicest person you could ever meet. I am chuffed to bits for him.
“He is not flash or big headed. He basically always delivers. It is as simple as that.”
Carlin first met Norris in 2014 and gave him a shot in 2015 in the MSA Formula 4 championship, which he won at the first attempt.
Back then, Carlin says Norris was only focused on racing – and nothing much has changed since.
He said: “He was great fun and at certain times he would like his own space and do and sit in a corner pull his hoodie up and play with his phone.
“The fact he is constantly driving a real car or a simulator means he doesn’t have a lot of time to get in to trouble.
“His poor old mum. He would do a test day with us and go home about 8 o’clock at night after a long day.
“His mum would ask how his day had been because she wanted to see him, but Lando would grab his dinner and go and sit on his sim and go racing again online!”
Norris was born in Bristol but grew up with his family near Glastonbury.
The non-drinking racing nut has never been to the town’s famous music festival but Carlin might now try and tap him up for some tickets.
He said: “When he is a little bit older and even more famous, I might have to ask him for some tickets”