Oscar Piastri dismisses ‘team leader’ concerns after matching Lando Norris

Oscar Piastri is already pushing Lando Norris more than Daniel Ricciardo or Carlos Sainz ever did at McLaren.

Rookie Oscar Piastri has revealed that he’s become “more vocal” at McLaren throughout his debut campaign, as his confidence increased.

Piastri has been enjoying an excellent maiden Formula 1 season, which has seen him already push Lando Norris more than any previous McLaren driver has.

The Australian did take a couple of races to get properly up to speed, but since the team’s big upgrades package at the Austrian Grand Prix, he’s been exceptional.

He’s had no issue at all battling with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, who he’s been amongst in the last four races.

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Piastri has finished in the top five at the last three events and even finished second in the Belgian Grand Prix sprint, which he briefly led before being overtaken by Max Verstappen.

Given that he’s only completed 12 races in F1 and is already challenging the frontrunners, it’s easy to see why the former Formula 2 and Formula 3 World Champion is viewed as a future F1 title challenger.

The star is quick to note, though, that whilst he is a rookie with “no race experience” in F1 prior to this season, he does have experience in driving older F1 cars for both McLaren and Alpine.

Despite this, even he recognises that he’s having more input in decision as his confidence has increased.

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“Even when I came to the team at the beginning of the year, yes, I had had no race experience, but I obviously had experience of driving other F1 cars, so I guess I had a different perspective again, from other people,” Piastri told Speedcafe.

“I think my confidence to be a bit more vocal has definitely improved and I think that’s natural.

“But I think from the beginning of the year, mine and Lando’s comments about the car behaviours are very similar anyway. And that’s not really changed, even with the new updates.

“So, I feel like we’re very much on the same page with that.”

As impressive as Piastri has been, he is the number two driver at the Woking-based team.

Norris has become the number one driver and understandably so, having consistently delivered for the team since 2019.

McLaren have also shared that Norris is the number one driver, by giving the British driver upgrades before Piastri.

However, Piastri insists that the mentality of the team doesn’t give the impression that he’s their number two driver.

“It doesn’t really require a team leader mentality so much if you’re both saying the same things,” Piastri said.

“There’s definitely certain areas that maybe we’re more focused on and stuff but yeah, I feel like I’m at home with the team.

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“Once you get some decent results on the board, have some good weekends, of course, your credibility naturally goes up, whether it’s conscious or not.

“So yeah, I feel more confident, but at the same time, I wasn’t afraid to say what I felt with the car, and also say what I felt about myself; [if] I felt like the I couldn’t give good enough feedback on the car because of how I was driving. I wasn’t afraid to say that either.

“I think it naturally increases with time and with results and being able to perform but I feel like it’s sort of been there from the beginning anyways.”