McLaren claim Oscar Piastri is challenging Lando Norris

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has backed rookie Oscar Piastri's to impress with his race craft.

McLaren’s Lando Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri secured second and fourth place, respectively, in the recent British Grand Prix, marking a breakthrough for the team and its upgraded package after a challenging first half of the season. 

The impressive performance by Piastri, the reigning Formula 2 champion, also highlighted his positive influence on Norris, according to McLaren Team Principal, Andrea Stella.

Stella praised Piastri’s outstanding performance, considering his rookie status, stating, “Oscar’s performance is just outstanding if you think he’s a rookie. 

“And right away, even in practice, he was immediately quick. 

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“This allows also some synergies between the drivers because both can see where you can improve from each other. 

“And this elevates the performance of both drivers. 

“So, not only are we impressed, but there’s a net benefit in having two competitive drivers because both can benefit.”

After spending a year as Alpine’s reserve driver, Piastri’s race craft was identified as an area for potential improvement. 

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However, the 22-year-old’s mature race craft was on full display at Silverstone, where he successfully held off George Russell from Mercedes and narrowly missed out on a maiden podium due to a poorly timed safety car.

Stella highlighted Piastri’s race craft, stating, “I think the speed that Oscar is able to deploy, we have seen it already. 

“The element that comes out [in Silverstone] is his race craft. 

“His ability to maintain tire grip, drive cleanly in intense racing situations, and handle safety car restarts on hard tires—it was immediately apparent. 

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“This is a mature race craft, which is quite impressive in a guy so young.”

Piastri drove at Silverstone with McLaren’s radical upgrade package, initially introduced by Norris in Austria, although he did not have the new front wing that Norris received for the British Grand Prix. 

McLaren plans to bring Piastri’s car up to the same specification as his teammate’s in Hungary, with further updates scheduled for the MCL60 as part of a mid-season overhaul aimed at enhancing downforce levels and efficiency.