F1 2023: Oscar Piastri challenge will make Lando Norris better, McLaren, Fernando Alonso brands McLaren overconfident

McLaren boss Andrea Stella believes Lando Norris’ “discomfort” at being challenged by Oscar Piastri will only push him to be even better.

Piastri has secured podium finishes in his last two races and even won the sprint race at the Qatar Grand Prix, further underscoring his enormous potential.

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As for Norris, he finished one place behind the Aussie rookie in Qatar but felt he could have done better.

Piastri’s rapid uptick in form has many wondering just how worried Norris is about his teammate and what it could mean for the future, especially if they continue to jostle for podiums.

But Stella feels Norris will view the duel between the McLaren pair as a “positive” and felt it was something the Brit needed to elevate his driving to the next level.

“Lando knows himself that Oscar is a unique talent, you don’t see these kinds of talents in Formula 1 every day,” Stella told Motorsport.com.

“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.

“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 a blessing to be a champion.”

Norris is ahead of Piastri by just over 50 points this season and will look to increase that margin at the United States GP in Texas this weekend.

ALONSO BRANDS MCLAREN ‘OVERCONFIDENT’ AMID CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE

Despite trimming the gap to just 11 points, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso believes McLaren are “overconfident” in their hopes of securing fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Aston Martin sit in fourth thanks to an impressive first half of the season as Alonso secured six podiums from the opening 10 races and didn’t finish lower than seventh.

As for his teammate Lance Stroll, he secured points in six of the first 10 races.

But since the Hungarian Grand Prix, the duo haven’t quite enjoyed the same success as Alonso finished on the podium just once while Stroll has earned points twice from seven races.

Meanwhile, McLaren have flown up the standings after a horror start to the season thanks to Lando Norris landing five podiums in his last eight while Oscar Piastri continues to get better with every race.

Norris and Piastri’s success has given McLaren a chance of finishing ahead of the midfield pack in the Constructors’ Championship with five races to go.

Alonso conceded McLaren may have the wind in their sails for now, but he feels the rollercoaster nature of the season could easily catch them.

“Obviously they (McLaren) have the momentum for sure,” Alonso told RacingNews365.com.

“And they’ve been quite fast. But every weekend we see up and downs for everybody.

“They’ve been very strong before the August break in Austria, in Silverstone. I think they were close to being both on the podium in Silverstone.

“In Zandvoort, we were on the podium and they struggled a little bit.

“So, it’s good if they’re overconfident and let’s see if we can beat them in Abu Dhabi.”

Originally published as Why Oscar Piastri’s rapid rise is causing Lando Norris ‘discomfort’

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