Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle believes Lando Norris achieved an 'outstanding level' in the 2023 F1 season, particularly with the competitive edge brought by his new team-mate Oscar Piastri - but the Brit will be 'mortally wounded' after Piastri's maiden victory in the Qatar Grand Prix sprint race.
While Norris secured seven podiums, Piastri, in his remarkable rookie season, contributed two to McLaren's tally. After the dynamic with seasoned driver Daniel Ricciardo in the previous seasons, Norris now faced a different challenge as the experienced counterpart to Piastri.
'Piastri has sharpened Norris'
And according to Brundle, speaking during Sky F1's end-of-season review, Piastri's presence has significantly elevated Norris's performance in the 2023 season.
“Oscar Piastri has really sharpened Lando Norris up,” Brundle declared.
“Now he has to get on with it a little bit because Piastri has turned up, as a rookie, delivering the high speeds through the really challenging corners, delivering some amazing results.
“Made some rookie errors as well, but I think that’s really driven both drivers on and probably just what Lando needed because I think in the second half of the season, Lando Norris has been outstanding.”
Brundle feels that Norris might be grappling with a sense of disappointment and damaged pride, especially considering that the Russian Grand Prix in 2021, which Brundle identifies as arguably Norris's significant opportunity for victory, slipped through his grasp.
“Let’s remember that Oscar Piastri won the sprint race in Qatar in great style with Max [Verstappen] trying to catch him,” Brundle added.
“Their [McLaren] new wind tunnel I don’t think will really pay a lot of dividends until 2025, but if they put everything else together well… and remember even a couple of years back there was a sequence of three races were Lando could have won all three of them.
"So it’s within touching distance and he must be mortally wounded that actually, it was Piastri who saw the chequered flag first.”
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