F1 analyst Peter Windsor stressed that Oscar Piastri as Lando Norris’ McLaren team-mate will not get the best out of Norris.
Norris got the better of multi-time grand prix winner Daniel Ricciardo during their time as team-mates in 2021 and 2022, but for F1 2023, he had a totally different challenge alongside rookie Oscar Piastri, making Norris the experienced figure.
Norris did get the better of that exchange, scoring seven podiums to Piastri’s two, and 205 points versus Piastri’s 97, but Piastri certainly planted the warning signs and quickly earned a McLaren contract extension running until the end of 2026.
Oscar Piastri has ‘gifts’ Lando Norris does not
Piastri did beat Norris to the achievement of a first F1 victory, having won the sprint race in Qatar, that race weekend one of several examples where Norris was extremely self-critical over his perceived underperformance over one lap.
McLaren nonetheless house one of, if not the most exciting driver line-ups in F1, though while McLaren will see this as a major plus, Windsor warned that the pressure coming from an impressive Piastri is far from positive for Norris.
“I’ve said all year long that having somebody as good as Oscar in that car, we’re going to see a lot more from him obviously as the McLaren gets better and better and it’s a good car now,” said Windsor on his YouTube channel.
“The better Oscar is getting, on any given weekend, the more it affects Lando Norris, as I’ve been saying ever since Oscar Piastri signed to drive for McLaren.
“It’s not going to get the best from Lando Norris, this isn’t what he needs in the other car. And I’m sure McLaren don’t even think about that, because they think, ‘Wow, we’ve got two great racing drivers, Lando is our guy and Oscar is our guy’, but they’re not getting the best from Lando Norris with Oscar there for sure.”
Windsor claimed that Piastri is born with gifts that Norris does not have, homing in on his short-corner ability, his way of “manipulating” the car to master corners shared with the F1 greats.
Norris’ “limit is slightly longer corners than Oscar Piastri” in Windsor’s view, which he says will only grow more obvious as the McLaren machinery continues to improve, after an impressive performance surge through F1 2023.
“And that’s where Oscar is going to have it over Lando when the car is good,” Windsor continued.
“And at the moment, nobody at McLaren seems to be showing the way to Lando Norris.
“That is something that Oscar Piastri has been born with and not something that Lando Norris has ever really had in his vocabulary as a driver. He’s got a million other things and he’s really really good in so many ways, but he doesn’t have that and that’s going to be the problem and is the problem.”
McLaren’s rise up the F1 2023 order saw them claim P4 in the Constructors’ Championship.