Rookie Oscar Piastri has certainly made an exceptional start to his Formula 1 and McLaren career, with team-mate Lando Norris having admitted that the Australian has been “pushing me a little bit more” than he’s experienced in the last two seasons.
Prior to Piastri, Norris’ team-mate was, of course, 33-year-old Daniel Ricciardo, who underperformed alongside Norris in 2021 and 2022.
The British driver was the evident team leader whilst partnered with Ricciardo, due to the Aussie having ultimately struggled for confidence.
As a result, Ricciardo had his contract terminated for 2023, something which has since seen him return to Red Bull as their development driver.
Since Piastri has come in, the 22-year-old has shown why he’s regarded so incredibly highly by the entire paddock, with the young Australian having adjusted to life at the Woking-based team in rapid fashion.
Piastri is already an F1 points finisher and claimed McLaren’s first Q3 appearance of the season at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, further highlighting his talent.
Whilst Norris does sit six points clear of Piastri in the Drivers’ Championship after four races, the Briton has already admitted that his younger team-mate is “very fast”, pushing Norris to raise his own level.
“He’s very fast,” Norris said of Piastri ahead of the Miami Grand Prix.
“Probably he has been pushing me a little bit more than the past couple years. So yeah, enjoyable.
“He’s a lovely guy — down to earth, normal guy, hard worker and so on. So it’s good, fun.
“It’s different to Daniel — I feel like a bit of a contrast of Australian — but still good fun.”
Piastri is most certainly a “hard worker”, with the former Formula 3 and Formula 2 World Champion having battled through the Azerbaijan Grand Prix like an absolute warrior.
The McLaren driver was in a horrible state throughout the recent round in Baku after suffering from a nasty stomach bug, which saw him live off toast for a handful of days.
He’s thankfully back to full fitness for Miami and is targeting a return to the points, after finishing 11th in Baku despite his condition.
“It’s another circuit on the calendar which has challenging features, but I’ve prepared well by working hard in the [simulator],” Piastri said.
“In [Baku] it was disappointing to miss out on points by one position, but I’m determined to finish the double-header in Miami with another strong showing.”