Lando Norris confirms Oscar Piastri pushing him harder than Daniel Ricciardo did

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, McLaren, together. Bahrain, February 2023.

McLaren team-mates Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri standing together. Bahrain, February 2023.

McLaren’s Lando Norris confirmed that he is facing more of a challenge as team-mate to Oscar Piastri than he did against Daniel Ricciardo.

For McLaren it was looked at as a statement signing when they secured the services of Ricciardo ahead of F1 2021, the seven-time race winner at that stage signing up for the project to get McLaren back to fighting at the front of the grid.

And while Ricciardo does boast the team’s most recent victory, that coming at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix to take him to eight career wins, it was a two-year spell with the team which overall fell far below expectations.

That prompted McLaren to show Ricciardo the door a year before his contract expired, and in his place they signed a compatriot of his in Piastri, who is now three races into his rookie F1 campaign.

And already Piastri is making a positive impression having out-qualified Norris in Round 2, the Saudi Arabian GP, where Piastri would make it into the Q3 stage of qualifying for the first time.

Piastri also delivered a solid recovery drive most recently in Melbourne, going from P16 on the grid to P8 at the chequered flag as he scored points at the end of a barmy first home race in Formula 1. Norris crossed the line P6 as McLaren scored for the first time in F1 2023.

And Norris is full of praise for the start his new team-mate has made, a team-mate who is making life harder for him than Ricciardo was able to.

Asked if Piastri is settling into life well at McLaren, Norris told Channel 4: “He’s doing a very good job, honestly. I feel so weird talking like I’m the older guy, the more experienced one!

“But he’s doing a very good job, handling the pressure extremely well I would say, I think that is something that is very strong that I’ve seen in him.

“He’s calm, he’s controlled and he’s quick, so I feel like he’s got a lot of what you need and he’s pushing me more than what I’ve had the last few years, which is a good thing for us as a team as well.

“So, a good job, in the points today and not an easy weekend. He went up from sixteenth to eighth, so a good day for him too.” recommends

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McLaren by their own admission have not started the season at the level where they expected to with the MCL60, failing to score points in the opening two rounds as the team set about completely overhauling their technical structure and personnel.

But the Australian GP was a very positive step for McLaren who shot up to P5 in the Constructors’ standings, and with the first phase of a bulky upgrade plan set to arrive for the next round in Azerbaijan, the team will hope that their fortunes merely improve further from here.

And if this is the case, then we will see whether Piastri can hang with the consistent points scoring which Norris has become known for, with the Brit also rarely absent from the conversation when a surprise podium finish is up for grabs, having done that six times so far in his F1 career.

In many ways this slow start for McLaren has been perfect for Piastri in allowing him to find his footing, but it feels like the real challenge is still to come if McLaren can get their house in order and start making this progress which they desire.