Lando Norris told to step up as Oscar Piastri threatens ‘wonder boy’ reputation

Sam Cooper
Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri

Lando Norris looking away from Oscar Piastri

Lando Norris has been warned McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri could usurp his “wonder boy” reputation after an impressive rookie season.

Although it may have only been in the Sprint, Piastri has already achieved something that Norris has yet to do in winning a race after the Australian’s impressive showing in Qatar.

It was the latest in a long line of excellent performances by Piastri with many considering whether he, rather than Norris, is McLaren’s future.

Lando Norris warned about Oscar Piastri’s rising star

Both McLaren drivers performed excellently across the Qatar weekend with the pair of them securing a combined 47 points and moving the Woking outfit to within 11 points of an out-of-sorts Aston Martin team, but it was the performance of Piastri that grabbed the headlines.

He converted a Sprint pole into a maiden win before finishing on the podium for the second time this season. It is these results that has racer and Dutch TV analyst Allard Kalff pondering whether Piastri may have taken Norris’ “wonder boy” title.

“Without short-changing Lando Norris: I think he is going to have his hands full with Oscar Piastri,” Kalff said on Viaplay.

“We are now going to see whether Norris is the wonder boy people say he is.

Kalff went on to suggest that Norris has picked up a habit of watching his team-mates hit great heights such as Piastri’s Sprint win and Daniel Ricciardo’s Monza victory in 2021.

“He never really did anything after that that I thought, ‘Jeez!” Kalff said.

“When they were able to win the Italian Grand Prix, Ricciardo won and [Norris] came second. When they could win the Sprint race here [in Qatar], his team-mate won. On Sunday, his team-mate finished ahead of him. At crucial moments, he still gets passed by his teammate.”

With two highly competitive drivers, McLaren are also aware of the danger of in-fighting and team boss Andrea Stella has suggested he is looking to avoid such a situation which could become like the Mercedes partnership of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

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“After we consolidated the positions at the last stop we just told the driver to hold position and then bring the two cars home, stay away from the kerbs, avoid track limits, keep it simple. That consolidated the podium today,” Stella told Sky F1 of McLaren’s strategy in Qatar.

“We do prepare always these kind of objectives, we remind them of our racing principles all the time in preparation for an event and before the race.

“I have to say more specifically, we don’t talk about Aston, we just talk about going out there and doing a good job. And we do a good job if we stick with our racing principles.

“And one of the principles is that the team comes first. We are fair and the drivers just need to trust us.”

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