Oscar Piastri dismisses rookie pressure and Daniel Ricciardo comparisons

Oscar Piastri has replaced Daniel Riccardo at McLaren as Lando Norris’ partner for 2023.

Despite proving his racing ability by winning the 2021 Formula 2 championship, Oscar Piastri has had to wait until 2023 for his chance in Formula 1.

The Australian was a part of the Alpine Academy but controversially chose to sign for McLaren to replace Daniel Ricciardo rather than be Fernando Alonso’s replacement with the French team.

This controversial saga ended with the Contract Recognition Board allowing Piastri to join McLaren, outraging his former employers.

The 21-year-old has been getting to grips with the MCL60 this week in Bahrain, with drivers only having three days this season to share with their teammate before the season gets underway.

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While all the eyes will be on Piastri because of his rookie status and explosive rejection of Alpine, the new McLaren drive has dismissed claims that there are extra expectations of him this season.

“I think in terms of my junior results, obviously it has been my ticket into F1,” he said via RacingNews365.

“For me, it’s only a good thing that I can look back at with confidence, and I think regarding the contract situation last year, firstly it is closed and pretty clear cut, so I don’t think that aspect in particular [adds any pressure].

“There’s obviously an element of expectation, but that is to be expected for all rookies when we are one of 20 drivers in Formula 1.

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“There’s always going to be a lot of eyes on us, so I don’t think that’s really been affected too much.”

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Piastri will face the daunting task of trying to match McLaren star Lando Norris this season, something which eight-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo failed to do.

The MCL60 is not where McLaren would like it to be in terms of performance at the moment according to team CEO Zak Brown, leaving fans in the dark with regards to what to expect from the team this season.

With new technology being developed for the team, McLaren expect to be a winning team once again in the new couple of years but have admitted that it could be a slow process to return to title contention.