‘Lando Norris won’t be enjoying Oscar Piastri pressure’

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris standing with McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri. Britain July 2023

Lando Norris standing with his McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri. Britain July 2023

No longer the McLaren driver everyone is speaking about, Naomi Schiff thinks Lando Norris won’t be “enjoying” having Oscar Piastri as his new team-mate.

The lead McLaren driver in the early rounds of this year’s championship, Norris picked up where he left off against Daniel Ricciardo last season only this year against a different team-mate in Piastri.

But as the season has progressed, McLaren aided by the introduction of a heavily-revised MCL60, Piastri has followed Norris up the timesheets.

Oscar Piastri’s form is ‘putting some pressure’ on Lando Norris

Taking the fight to Norris in qualifying for the British and Hungarian Grands Prix, the Aussie missed out on joining him on the podium when his races were undone by strategy calls, Mercedes’ in Silverstone and McLaren’s in Hungary.

He bounced back from his near-misses to grab a career-first sprint race podium at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend while he lined up ahead of Norris on the grand prix grid before being collected by Carlos Sainz.

The 22-year-old’s performances have seen him replace Norris as the McLaren driver now being linked to F1’s top teams.

Former racer Schiff doesn’t see how Norris could be enjoying this moment, even though having a strong teammate will push him to give his best.

“I have to be honest I don’t think there is a way that he can really be enjoying it,” she told Sky F1.

“I do think it is a positive for him to have a teammate in the garage next to him that’s quick, that’s bringing in valuable data to move the whole team forward, but of course as a driver, the number one person – as much as they call this a team sport – the number one person you want to beat is your teammates.

“Obviously qualifying on Friday was slightly different for Lando, he went off at Turn 14 and caused some damage to his underfloor and therefore he lost the ultimate performance in the car. However, Oscar was able to out-pace him in qualifying fair and square.

“So that’s going to be putting some pressure on him. But I think it’s positive pressure.

“As much as he might not like it, it’ll be good for him. It’ll be pushing him to pay more attention to detail. And ultimately when you’ve got a driver next to you that’s pushing you, you become a better driver yourself.”

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Norris has previously talked up Piastri saying he is pushing him “a little bit more” than Daniel Ricciardo managed as McLaren teammates while more recently he spoke of their mutual desire to help McLaren return to the sharp end of the grid.

“All is good, he is a very normal guy, down to earth, with no ego,” he said.

“We get on really well, he is extremely good, a competitive, good teammate. I think we’ve already built up a good amount of respect and trust toward one another. We have both got the best interests at heart for the team.”

But, he added: “When you get to race for first and second, that’s when things can change a huge amount.”

On the podium in the last three race weekends, that’s now the position the teammates find themselves in.

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