Alarm Bells Ring at McLaren Moments After Lando Norris Threw in the Towel Against Oscar Piastri

Published 10/08/2023, 8:24 AM EDT

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In today’s turbo-hybrid era of F1, McLaren continues its quest to match the legacy established by past legends. But with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri at the wheel, signs of change are becoming increasingly visible as the Papaya army edges closer to achieving this goal. The sky is the limit for this team, with such talents. But amidst their resurgence, there was a concerning moment that perhaps sent alarm bells ringing at McLaren. Lando Norris, arguably their No.1 driver, seems to have thrown in the towel against his teammate, Oscar Piastri.

While everyone knew about McLaren’s recent resurgence, they expected the team to challenge others for the podium. Only a few expected an MCL60 to finish ahead of an RB19. Even though it was a Sprint Race, Oscar Piastri ended McLaren’s two-year win drought. But for Norris, the Qatar Grand Prix was more than just another race; it was a pivotal moment in his Formula 1 career. After all, he had been carrying the hopes of McLaren and its fans for a while, striving for that elusive race win. However, as Oscar Piastri stood on the top step of the podium, Norris faced a moment of introspection and self-doubt.

Is Lando Norris facing self-doubt?


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During the post-race interview, Nico Rosberg posed a direct and thought-provoking question to Lando Norris. He inquired whether Norris believed he could secure a race win if he were given the same car as Oscar Piastri. Norris responded with brutal honesty, “I mean, I hope so. I’ve been trying for a long time, but Oscar has done a Mega job. He’s had a flawless weekend. I made a lot of mistakes, and he didn’t. He capitalized, and he’s done a better job, so hats off to him.

via Reuters

This moment of self-doubt might signal a noteworthy shift in Norris’s mindset. Although Lando Norris unquestionably ranks among the most talented drivers in today’s F1. Instances like these can influence even elite athletes. While winning a race in the current F1 era, dominated by Mercedes and Red Bull, proves challenging. Even more daunting for a driver is to witness their younger, less experienced teammate clinch a victory before they do.


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Reflecting on his momentous victory, Oscar Piastri couldn’t contain his elation. He remarked, “I’m very happy. It was a very stressful race! When I saw all the soft [tyre] guys come through at the start, I thought we were in a bit of trouble, but then their tyres fell off pretty quickly – that was good.”

Piastri also acknowledged the significant role played by the safety cars during the race. He openly admitted, “Safety Cars were my friend today, definitely once Max got behind me, but the pace was reasonable… I think in a race where you had to manage a lot, the tyres, cars on other compounds, I think we did a really good job.” Naturally, the Aussie will be feeling to carry the Woking outfit in their resurgence ahead of Norris, after hitting a purple patch of results off-late.

McLaren’s ongoing journey 

Oscar Piastri’s Qatar victory was pivotal to McLaren’s Formula 1 journey. Lando Norris’s self-doubt clearly echoed, but the team aimed to use it for redemption. Norris, while hoping for future victories, had to uncomfortably acknowledge his teammate’s accomplishments. He stated, “It’s Oscar’s first win, earlier than mine, so a big well done to him. It was a tough race… A bad start made everything much trickier, but we fought back well.”


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With such strong momentum on their side, the remaining races are absolutely detrimental to McLaren. Catching Mercedes for the #2 position in the constructors’ championship is a somewhat unrealistic target for the Papaya army. They could very well finish this year ahead of their rivals, Ferrari and Aston Martin, who are third and fourth, respectively.

via Reuters

The candid admission by Lando Norris does add an interesting layer of complexity to the team’s dynamics. Perhaps it also hints at a moment of self-doubt for the young British driver. For the sake of everyone, let’s hope that this possible ‘self-doubt’ from him does not carry over further. With the MCL60 finally becoming a competitive form and Lando doing well, he deserves a race win.


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WATCH THIS STORY | How Lando Norris Had a Chance to Go to Red Bull But Instead Chose McLaren

But will the cruel and cut-throat world of Formula 1 be kind to the fan favourite McLaren driver? Here’s to hoping that it does.


Written by:

Adhiraj Dhyani


One take at a time

Adhiraj Dhyani is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. He kick-started his online writing journey on Drivetribe, where he passionately covered F1 and automobile content. Following his automotive adventures, he explored the realm of eSports, specializing in the coverage of League of Legends.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar