The McLaren driver had a highly successful ascent through the junior categories, including three championships wins in 2016 alone. He became European Formula 3 champion the following year, then finished runner-up to
in Formula 2 last season.
During that campaign his promotion to McLaren’s F1 team was confirmed. But Norris said it was only at that point that he believed he would get to race in F1.
“It was always my ambition, since I was 13 or 14,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “I always wanted to but I [did] not always believe that I could do.
“I knew I was reasonably good and I won races and some championships but it’s still not a guarantee you’re going to be in F1.”
“I never believed I could get to F1 until I was told I was going to have the seat,” he added. “I don’t know why, I just never believed it. Before I got told, no, after, it was a yes.”
Norris admitted he’s surprised himself with some of his performances since arriving in the sport.
“I’m not surprised I have the ability because I’ve been good in other categories which has given me some confidence. But F1 is completely different and I didn’t know how I was going to do against Carlos [Sainz Jnr], how I was going to do against all these other drivers who are the best drivers in the world.
“I don’t think I’ve done amazingly, I’ve done pretty well, but I still [didn’t] think I would have done as well as I have done in terms of my competitiveness in general.
“Obviously compared to Carlos as a guy I can compare with, but not just against him. Racing other drivers, drivers who’ve been in [F1] for many more years than me, people with a lot more experience, people in faster cars and so on. I’ve done things which I didn’t necessarily think I would one hundred percent be able to do.”
2019 F1 season
- Perez: F1 should be as competitive as it was in 2012
- Where is F1 going to find a “high-profile US team”?
- F1 should stop trying to make “perfect rules” – Brown
- Haas won’t be a “training ground” for new drivers
- Analysis: Six teams have cut Mercedes’ lead since last year