Daniel Ricciardo claims Oscar Piastri is expected to challenge Lando Norris

Oscar Piastri announced a move to McLaren for 2023 at the start of September, following a season as Alpine's reserve driver.

Daniel Ricciardo seemingly has absolutely no hard feelings towards fellow Australian Oscar Piastri heading into 2023, despite the fact that the 2021 Formula 2 World Champion took the Red Bull development driver’s seat at McLaren for the forthcoming season.

It was speculated fairly early on last season that Piastri could move to McLaren to replace Ricciardo, with the 33-year-old having started the season poorly.

Speculation turned to reality when Ricciardo’s 2023 contract with the Woking-based side was terminated towards the end of August, only for Piastri to then be announced at the start of September.

Some wondered if Ricciardo would feel any angst towards Piastri, given the circumstances; however, there appears to be nothing of the sort.

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Ricciardo came to the realisation that racing in 2023 wasn’t the right thing for him to do, hence why he’s returned to Red Bull to fill a behind-the-scenes role.

A year away from the sport will hopefully give the fan favourite a chance to recharge his batteries and rediscover his love for the pinnacle of motorsport, with a full-time return in 2024 being a real possibility.

With this in mind, the eight-time Grand Prix winner has revealed that he wants Piastri to “enjoy” his rookie season, with the young Aussie having been given a “big, big opportunity”.

“We spoke a little bit towards the end of last year, and I don’t want to say, ‘Oh, I think he’ll do this or that’ because I don’t know the truth of how he’s going to go,” said Ricciardo.

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“But I also don’t want to add any more pressure on him. There’s an expectation for him to be close to Lando, or whatever it is.

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“It’s really just on him to get involved in the sport, build himself up, learn, progress, and also just enjoy it.

“It’s a big, big opportunity. There haven’t been many Australians to get this far before, so ultimately, he needs to find that part of it as well where he can just enjoy it.

“Obviously, I wish him well, but I really can’t predict or say, ‘Oh, he’ll do this or that’. We’ll wait and see but I hope he finds himself having fun and has a smooth first season.”