Lando Norris insists he will not fall into the trap of Formula One’s champagne lifestyle by declaring: “You won’t see me out in London getting hammered”.
Norris, 19, will become the youngest British driver in F1 history when he makes his debut at next month’s season-opening grand prix in Melbourne.
Just as Lewis Hamilton did 12 years previously, Norris will take his F1 bow with McLaren, Britain’s most successful F1 outfit, but a team in the midst of a dire run.
But while five-time world champion Hamilton mingles with an A-List entourage, teenager Norris says he would rather stay in at his shared home in Guilford playing computer games.
“I don’t like drinking at all,” said Norris. “I find the negative effect of a hangover outweighs getting drunk, so I haven’t done it for a while, and I don’t think I’ll get into that.
“People are still allowed to have a life and do things they like and enjoy, so I don’t think I’ll be trapped in.
“But I enjoy simulator racing more, it is my passion, so you won’t see me out in London getting hammered.”
Norris was speaking at McLaren’s swanky headquarters in Woking, Surrey after taking the wraps off this year’s new car.
Norris is regarded as the most exciting British talent since Hamilton burst on to the scene with McLaren in 2007 and fell just one point short of winning the championship in his debut year.
“I haven’t rung up Lewis or anything as I don’t have his number,” added Norris.
“I haven’t gone out of my way to seek advice from people I don’t know.
“Overall there’s going to be things I’m not great at. There’s more pressure in knowing you’re under more scrutiny, but no driver’s perfect.
“I am sure there’s going to be times when I do things wrong that no one’s going to like and everyone’s going to think I’m terrible and rubbish but I know I’m going to go through those times, and it’s just about understanding that that’s going to happen.”
Hamilton won on his sixth attempt for McLaren, remarkably scoring nine podiums in as many of his opening races.
But despite boasting a record of 20 combined individual and team championships, these are very different times at McLaren.
They were well off the pace in 2018, having not won a race since Hamilton departed for Mercedes more than six years ago, and there is little optimism that they will return to the top step any time soon.
“It was a different environment when Lewis came in to the team because we were winning races, so it is hard to compare the two,” said McLaren’s chief executive, Zak Brown.
“But Lando is very mature for his age. He is a relaxed individual and doesn’t act any differently when the spotlight is on him. We think he is ready otherwise we wouldn’t have put him in the car.
“I expect Lando will hit the ground running and be on it right away. He will make mistakes and that is alright, as long as you don’t make the same one twice.”