Norris “discomfort” at Piastri F1 form will not grind him down, says McLaren

After several seasons where Norris has been de facto team leader at McLaren, the Briton has faced an increasingly tough challenge this season from rookie Piastri.

And the Australian’s potential was made clear in Qatar when he took pole and victory in the sprint race before finishing runner-up in the grand prix itself.

Norris was left kicking himself afterwards over what happened in Qatar, as he blamed his own errors for missing out on the clear opportunity to do better.

But despite Norris being so publicly frustrated with himself over his weekend’s performance, McLaren team boss Andrea Stella has said he is not concerned about the situation unsettling his driver.

Instead, he thinks that any unease Norris feels from the rapid speed of Piastri will only act as a spur to make him better.

“Lando knows himself that Oscar is a unique talent – you don’t see these kinds of talents in Formula 1 every day,” said Stella, when asked by Motorsport.com about the dynamics between the two drivers.

“So he’s an absolute reference, even if he’s a rookie, and at times Lando knows that he will set the bar very high.

“But if you are a champion like Lando is, you will have to take that from a positive point of view because he gives you so much information to keep improving.

Lando Norris, McLaren, 3rd position, Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 1st position, the McLaren team celebrate after the Sprint race

Lando Norris, McLaren, 3rd position, Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 1st position, the McLaren team celebrate after the Sprint race

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“There’s no champion in the world in any sport that wins everything, or as a driver is faster in every corner, faster every lap, and faster every session.

“So for me, Lando sees this as a bit of discomfort, but it’s the discomfort you need to become the best in a way. It’s a curse and blessing to be a champion.”

Norris has the trait of criticising himself if things do not go right, but Stella does not think that he goes so far that it is counterproductive.

And he has faith that he will quickly learn to find the right balance that’s needed to perform at his peak.

“Lando is such an honest person, and I think he perpetuates this honesty in every kind of relationship, including the one with himself,” added Stella.

“I think he wants to make sure that if he gets it wrong, he gets it from the honesty point of view. He doesn’t want to look arrogant, he doesn’t want to look like he is not acknowledging that he could have done better.

“But, at the same time, like I said before about champions, you need to find the right balance. And you need to find the right dynamics, in terms of communication to the world and in terms of communication to yourself, to put yourself in the position to perform today, and in the position to keep improving every day.

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“So I think even how harsh he was on himself, especially following the qualifying on Friday, there will be an element of review. And this review will happen very honestly.

“And he will calibrate over time to see, how tough do I really have to be with myself? What is the target here? To be faster in every single corner, in every single lap, in every single session, or just be the best, which doesn’t imply all the rest?

“So I think there’s a bit of a journey for Lando, and it will be for Oscar, and it’s for each of us in the team.”

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