While Sky F1’s Martin Brundle feels Lando Norris reached an “outstanding level” in F1 2023 with new team-mate Oscar Piastri pushing him, he suspects the Brit will feel “mortally wounded” by Piastri winning first.
F1 2023 marked Norris’ fifth season in Formula 1 with McLaren and was his most productive yet, as for the first time in his tenure, McLaren, following a difficult start to the campaign, found the answers to make the MCL60 a challenger capable of regular podiums.
Norris scored seven of McLaren’s nine achieved across the campaign, with Piastri providing two in what was a highly impressive rookie campaign in papaya.
Martin Brundle makes ‘mortally wounded’ winless Lando Norris claim
For the past two seasons Norris had been shining against the experienced multi-time grand prix winner Daniel Ricciardo in the garage next door, meaning Norris then took a trip to the opposite end of the spectrum as the experienced figure alongside Piastri.
And speaking as part of Sky F1’s end-of-season review, former F1 racer Brundle claimed that Piastri has “really sharpened Norris up” in 2023.
“Oscar Piastri has really sharpened Lando Norris up,” Brundle declared.
“Now he has to get on with it a little bit because Piastri has turned up, as a rookie, delivering the high speeds through the really challenging corners, delivering some amazing results.
“Made some rookie errors as well, but I think that’s really driven both drivers on and probably just what Lando needed because I think in the second half of the season, Lando Norris has been outstanding.”
So solid was Piastri that he actually beat Norris to an achievement that he has been chasing for years, that being to win in Formula 1 as Piastri took the chequered flag in the Qatar sprint race.
Russia 2021 remains arguably Norris’ biggest victory opportunity to have come and gone, Brundle suggesting Norris will be feeling “mortally wounded” by that Piastri defeat.
“Let’s remember that Oscar Piastri won the sprint race in Qatar in great style with Max [Verstappen] trying to catch him,” Brundle added.
“Their [McLarens] new windtunnel I don’t think will really pay a lot of dividends until 2025, but if they put everything else together well…and remember even a couple of years back there was a sequence of three races were Lando could have won all three of them. So it’s within touching distance and he must be mortally wounded that actually it was Piastri who saw the chequered flag first.”
Norris is extremely determined looking ahead to F1 2024 to finally put a victory next to his name, confidently predicting that streak ends next year with the McLaren team whom he ultimately wants to take back to World Championship glory.
And Brundle’s fellow Sky F1 pundit Naomi Schiff sees no reason to doubt Norris and McLaren are on this trajectory.
“He is special,” said Schiff of Norris. “He has been waiting very long already to get to this point and you’ve got to say that now they are as close as they’ve ever been, at least in the time that Lando has been with the team, to potentially having those wins.
“I had the chance to sit down with Lando twice this season and he maintains the fact that he will become World Champion with this team. He seems fully committed to them. He wants to win his first race with them and he believes it’s going to happen next season.
“Everything shows that that looks like it could be possible. That’s all going to depend on how far down the road Red Bull is going to be.
“But I have some faith that the teams are reining them in and hopefully we will see something papaya on the top step next year.”
Norris is under contract at McLaren until the end of 2025, with Piastri’s deal running for a year beyond that.