FORMULA 1 returns this weekend after a short break, with the paddock heading to Turkey’s Istanbul Park circuit for the 16th round of an exhilarating season.

Last time out, Glastonbury's Lando Norris had his maiden race win cruelly taken away by a dramatic change in the weather at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia.

He led the Grand Prix until lap 51/53, when he was passed by Lewis Hamilton who had pitted for intermediate tyres when rain swept over the track from the Black Sea.

Norris and his team gambled and decided to try and finish the race on hard dry-weather tyres, but the Bristol-born racing driver could not maintain his pace or keep control of his McLaren so was forced to pit.

He eventually finished the race in seventh place, over a minute behind Hamilton and three places behind his teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

From Norris’s heartbreak came joy for seven-time world champion Hamilton, who celebrated his 100th Grand Prix victory and re-taking the lead of the Drivers’ Championship from Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Since Sochi, Norris has launched his own racing kart – a project he has been working on with Italian manufacturer OTK for a year – and spoken candidly to This Morning’s Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about his mental health since joining F1. 

“I guess people, when you just watch TV, don’t realise many things that a driver goes through,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a shame, there's more programmes now where you get to see what the driver is like behind the scenes, and the amount of pressure and stress that they have to cope with.

“Especially at my age, coming into Formula 1 at 19, there's a lot of eyes on you. So, dealing with all these kinds of things, that took its toll on me.”

He revealed that he was unsure if he was good enough to compete in F1 or if he had a future in the sport. 

He said he thought: “Am I going to be in Formula 1 next year? If I’m not, what am I going to do? Because I’m not really good at many other things in life.

“So just all of that, and then just feeling depressed a lot of the time that if I have a bad weekend I just think, I'm not good enough and things like that.

“When they start adding up over the season, and then the social media side of it all, that can just really start to hurt you.”

The 21-year-old credits his McLaren team and mental health charity Mind for supporting him and helping him into a better headspace.

"I'm in a much better place now. I'm much happier and I can enjoy everything I do," he said.

Norris has had an excellent third season in Formula 1 so far and currently occupies fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship with 139 points.

He recently secured his best-ever race result by finishing in second place at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza and, despite his Sochi heartbreak, we believe that he will not have to wait too much longer for his first win.  

Here are the reasons why…

McLaren are on an upward trajectory 

When Norris joined McLaren, the team had just endured a challenging 2018 season. 

Despite having two-time world champion Fernando Alonso driving alongside Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren could only manage sixth in the Constructors' Championship with 62 points from 21 races. 

The 2017 season had been even worse: McLaren finished in ninth place, matching the team's similarly terrible 2015 performance. 

When Norris joined McLaren in 2019 to become Britain's youngest-ever F1 driver, he drove alongside Carlos Sainz and the team finished in a much more respectable fourth place. 

Last year, Norris and Sainz (now at Ferrari) helped the team to a third-place finish behind Mercedes and Red Bull. 

Now, McLaren are looking better still.

Last summer, they left their Renault engines behind to return to Mercedes power units, which has seen their performances and points haul improve further despite Ricciardo's inconsistency.

The 32-year-old Australian won the Italian Grand Prix but has finished outside the top 10 on four occasions and was even lapped by Norris in Monaco. 

In May, Norris signed a new contract that will keep him at McLaren "beyond 2022". 

If the Woking-based team continues to improve, it is almost certain that they and Norris will continue to challenge for race victories in the not-too-distant future - especially if the team has prepared well for the introduction of new technical regulations from next season. 

Somerset County Gazette:

The impact of new technical regulations 

Next year's Formula 1 cars will look rather different to this year's machines. 

The new-look cars, which were initially supposed to be introduced this season but were delayed because of the pandemic, have been designed to promote closer racing.

They will do this by reducing the "catastrophic downforce loss" the current cars experience when they are in the 'dirty air' of the car in front. 

The cars will also run on a more sustainable fuel, have improved safety features, and have larger 18-inch wheels and low-profile tyres. 

Last time there was a major rule change - the introduction of hybrid V6 engines - Mercedes emerged from Red Bull's shadow and became the dominant team in F1. 

The Silver Arrows have won every Drivers' and Constructors' World Championship since the new engines were brought in seven years ago. 

With so much changing next year, who is to say that McLaren will not be the team to benefit and challenge Mercedes and Red Bull more regularly at the front of the pack? 

If Norris does not win his first race this season, next year's changes could help him achieve it. 

F1 insiders are backing him to do great things 

Former F1 team founder Eddie Jordan believes that Norris is "very special" and could reach the high standards of Hamilton and Verstappen. 

He told the F1 Nation podcast: "There are very few that actually can come up to Max and Lewis’ standard, and I think Norris is the one that stands out.

"I think that if we are looking for another world champion in Britain, you would have to be looking at Lando Norris." 

After a close battle at this year's Austrian Grand Prix, Hamilton - who knows a thing or two about winning with McLaren - told his Mercedes team over the radio: "Such a great driver, Lando." 

Nico Rosberg, who beat Hamilton to become world champion in 2016, was also highly complimentary of the young driver in June. 

After the opening seven races of this year, Rosberg said: "Lando is in absolutely astonishing form, he’s driving so well.

"Absolutely Lando has what it takes to be a world champion. He’s proving it this year more than ever up against Daniel, who’s a phenomenal driver.

"The way he has been dominating him this year has been really impressive."

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