Lando Norris has admitted McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri’s handling of pressure in his rookie season was perhaps “better than I feel like I remember I was when I started”, though every Formula 1 driver’s experience is different.
Piastri earned plaudits from his fellow drivers, pundits and fans alike for how he was able to seemingly show a cool head throughout his maiden year at the top level of motorsport, the Australian proving unflappable on a number of occasions and displaying a calm demeanour in the media to boot.
Norris was full of praise for his younger team-mate for that part of his personality, earning “a lot of respect” from the Briton on the other side of the garage.
Lando Norris praises Oscar Piastri: ‘He’s been very, very good at dealing with pressure’
Norris comfortably came out on top in the Drivers’ standings between the two McLaren drivers in 2023, earning 205 points compared to 97 for his rookie team-mate and taking seven podiums in the process.
Piastri earned a maiden podium of his own and took a non-race victory through the sprint in Qatar, as proof of his potential for the future in fending off Max Verstappen throughout.
Norris has spoken highly of his McLaren colleague for how he has handled his rise to Formula 1, admitting his handling of pressure was probably better than his own in his rookie year – though he now understands how to deal with it much better himself now.
“Oscar had an incredible season,” Norris said of his team-mate, as quoted by Crash.net.
“Keeping calm and being yourself, it’s good to be reminded of that.
“I think he’s been very, very good at dealing with pressure, better than I feel like I remember I was when I started, but I think that’s because everyone’s very different with all of this – dealing with pressure and remaining calm and chilled.
“I think that is something that I’ve gotten a lot better with over the years – I know how to deal with all of these things much better myself now.
“I have a lot of respect for Oscar in how he was able to stay so calm in a new environment, in Formula 1, on the big stage.”
And for Piastri himself, he came into Formula 1 after a year on the sidelines as Alpine reserve following back-to-back Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles.
After taking time to get used to the big stage, he has impressed with how he grew throughout the season, and earned a long-term contract extension with McLaren as a result.
Given the variety of what he has had to deal with in his first year as a Formula 1 driver, the Australian believes it was a “privilege” to learn about the rigours of Formula 1 in such a way, while also getting the chance to fight at the front of the field.
“It’s definitely been a bigger rollercoaster than I expected,” Piastri told media including PlanetF1.com reflecting on his first season in the sport.
“I knew there would be ups and downs, maybe not as ‘down’ at the start or as ‘up’ at the end, but I’ve really learned a lot.
“I feel like I’ve had basically every situation you could have apart from a championship fight, so it’s been a good year in terms of learning.
“I think, as a team, we’re learning how to compete at the front again, which is exciting and not a position we’ve been in for 10 years. So it’s nice to be having these conversations again, going through these scenarios.
“And for me, it’s really a privilege to be fighting at the front so early in my career. There are people that go their whole F1 career that don’t have the opportunity that I’ve had in 22 races.
“So, very, very grateful for that, and I’m looking forward to plenty more years to come where hopefully, we can do that more often.”