One race in to the new season and British Formula 1 history has already been made. And no, the record breaker this time isn’t Lewis Hamilton.
In fact it’s Lewis’s record that’s been broken. Lando Norris is now the youngest ever Brit to stand on a Formula 1 podium.
“Yeah, that’s pretty cool to say,” Lando laughs, speaking to Newsbeat from Austria less than 24 hours after the race of his life.
His third place finish in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix was a better result than he or his team had dared to dream of coming in to F1 2020’s delayed opening weekend.
Lando’s team McLaren are one of the sport’s biggest names, having endured several years of pain since their last world championship win with Lewis Hamilton all the way back in 2008.
But despite 2019 being a significant step forward in the their hunt for a return to form, few expected McLaren to get near the podium places so early in the 2020 season.
“I think we knew we’d be strong,” Lando says. “But the whole weekend really, from qualifying on Saturday to the race on Sunday, it was all a bit unexpected. But I’ll take it.
“I tried hard. I didn’t give up in the race. And I got the podium on the very final lap.
“I couldn’t be happier with what we achieved in our first race.”
‘My heart was racing’
20-year-old Lando, starting just his second F1 season, secured third place by after a sensational final lap – the fastest of the race.
Running fourth in the closing stages, he knew he had to get within five seconds of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes in front, after the world-champion got a five second time penalty for a collision with Alex Albon, which was applied after the race.
Lando did it with just 0.2 seconds to spare.
“I only really had one and a half laps to really try and claw that that big gap in. To gain the amount of time that I did is not easy at all.
“In some ways I can say it’s my job to drive fast, deal with the pressure and perform when I need to. I feel like I did that.
“I was just trying to nail everything. If I ran wide or missed an apex then we wouldn’t be having this conversation and I wouldn’t have got on to the podium so it makes it even more special in some ways that everything had to be perfect.”
“My heart rate was racing a lot and I was pretty out of breath after.
“I was trying my best the whole race and it all paid off in the end. I didn’t think I’d be on the podium for quite a while yet so I’m just super, super happy.”
‘Even more special’
Lando says his team deserve huge credit for continuing McLaren’s recent up-turn in form through to the 2020 season.
And while tight Coronavirus-related rules in F1 meant there was no big after-party, or fans to cheer his name on the podium, Lando says seeing the reaction online was special.
“Getting all the messages from from however many people on my phone, getting messages from contacts I didn’t even know I had, seeing fans on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, I think that’s that’s the thing that makes it even more special.
Still, at least he got to taste the famous F1 champagne, right?
Well, not exactly.
“I’m not a big fan at all of any sort of alcohol or champagne or whatever it is. So I didn’t even have a sip of the champagne.
“There was one picture I saw of the three of us on the podium, the other two drivers are drinking away and I’m just pouring it over my head.
“I’ve put it to much better use in my eyes. I would say milk in the end of the day still tastes better.”
Taking the knee
Before the race, the drivers gathered to show their support for the fight against racism.
Lewis Hamilton says F1 hasn’t done enough in the past and needs to do more to tackle inequality.
Lando has supported Hamilton on social media and was one of 14 drivers out of the 20 who chose to take the knee.
“I think it was really important that we all got together on the grid and and we showed our support, our unity as drivers in the fight against racism and obviously Black Lives Matter too.
“We believe this is a crucial time to show our support as Formula One, the pinnacle of all of racing.
“We will continue to support it as Formula One and in our own respective teams, and as drivers too.
“We’re all in line, we all believe in what’s right and will continue to do that.”