Lando Norris thrashes punter racing on Las Vegas GP simulator in shopping centre

Lando Norris has revealed how he ended up skirting the Las Vegas system by entering a simulator race under his brother’s name and beat punters by a huge margin. The McLaren driver is in the glamorous Sin City for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix on Sunday, which may well prove to be one of the most historic races in motorsport’s history as the Nevada desert hosts its first F1 race in 41 years.

Norris managed to steer well clear of the casino tables and slot machines after spending some time getting acquainted to his temporary home for the next week. But the youngster couldn’t resist squeezing in a quick go at driving around the virtual track before he does it for real on Friday.

The 24-year-old was spotted at a shopping centre in Downtown Vegas on Monday and decided to put his racing talents to the test against other drivers, with an entry fee of £52 ($65) and a prize pot of £160 ($200) on offer for the winner.

And it’s safe to say he had no trouble in leaving his rivals in his rearview mirrors, finishing a massive 45 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger to give him a small confidence boost heading into the race weekend.

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Norris joked at how he managed to circumvent the rules to earn his brother Oliver some extra cash after racing under his name.

“There’s a simulator in the mall – it’s a rip-off, you pay $65 and if you win you get $200,” Norris said, speaking at a press event on Tuesday. “So my brother’s nearly $140 richer because I did it under his name! I was 45 seconds quicker than P2, so it was close.”

Norris appeared to be enjoying his downtime in Vegas after he was spotted behind the DJ decks at a local nightclub, with hundreds of partygoers raving to the songs he was playing.

The driver also participated in the Netflix Cup, pairing golfers with F1 drivers but lost to his close pal Carlos Sainz, and celebrated his birthday Stateside on Tuesday as he wound down from his media duties with bowling and shopping with friends.

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But on Sunday, it will be back to the day job as he puts his helmet on for real this time. With all of the 20 drivers yet to experience the newly-designed street circuit, which is situated on the famous Las Vegas strip, Norris may have his best chance of finally breaking his duck.

The Briton has proved to be the closest driver in terms of matching Max Verstappen for pace over the last eight races, securing six podium finishes in that time.

And after eight second-place finishes in F1, he is still awaiting his first victory in the sport, but with 102 races under his belt and a fine performance on the simulator, it might just be his time.

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