Lando Norris experienced two very different outcomes during the Mexican Grand Prix weekend. Saturday was a disappointing day, but Sunday was one that he will always remember. It was also a memorable weekend for McLaren as a whole. For Norris, the ups and downs of the race mirrored the ups and downs of McLaren’s season. He started at the back of the pack, but ended up among the top contenders. While Norris’ Mexican GP was a rollercoaster ride, it was just average for Oscar Piastri. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t exceptional. While McLaren celebrated Norris’ impressive performance, Piastri reminded the team to stay grounded.
Piastri has taken to Formula 1 like a duck to water. In the 19 races he’s driven for McLaren, he’s understood the car better than most could imagine. While that comes with the perks of maximizing the car’s performance, it also allows him to scope out weaknesses. Despite the promising signs from Mexico, Piastri revealed a striking shortcoming.
Oscar Piastri has not been fooled by McLaren’s upgrades.
After implementing its upgraded changes, McLaren experienced a complete turnaround. In a single race, they went from struggling at the back of the pack to contending at the front. To outsiders, it may seem like a miracle. But internally, although still miraculous, it is not without flaws. If there is one standout trait of Piastri this season, it is his drive to continuously learn and better himself. This is exactly why he provided McLaren with a much-needed reality check.
Oscar Piastri stated that he could have attained a more favorable outcome during the #MexicoGP.
“I believe the speed of our car at the moment isn’t something to boast about. Therefore, we are constantly striving for improvement.”#F1 #Formula1 #McLaren #BrazilGP pic.twitter.com/eoP3Ix0c62
— McLaren F1 News (@TheMcLarenZone) October 30, 2023
Norris had a challenging Mexican GP as he started in P19 and moved up to P8 before the Red Flag. After pitting for new tires, he dropped to P10 during the Red Flag period. He then fell to P14 after the restart but managed to climb back up to P5 by the end of the race. In contrast, Piastri’s weekend was more consistent as he qualified in P7 and maintained that position for most of the race. He was asked to let Norris pass, but a collision with Yuki Tsunoda affected his performance and he finished in P8.
In regards to the team’s performance, achieving a P5 and a P8 is commendable. However, the fact that Norris had a strong pace does not necessarily reflect the overall pace of McLaren. Piastri clarified,
“I believe that our current car’s speed is not something to boast about. We are constantly striving for improvement. We faced some challenges in specific areas, which made things much more difficult. The pace was comparable to the other cars on the track. However, Lando performed exceptionally well in the final stretch and was able to overtake effortlessly.”
The ultimatum given to Oscar Piastri, “If This Is Our Pace,” is seen as insulting as Lando Norris seeks redemption.
While Piastri’s presence may have caused a slight decrease in morale, it was crucial in keeping McLaren focused on progress. On the other hand, Norris’ performance may have hindered his own progress.
Lando Norris was displeased with his qualifying performance at the Mexican Grand Prix.
After an impressive performance at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Norris finished in P5 with a strong drive. His race engineer praised him, saying it was one of the best performances he had ever seen. This was even more impressive considering the difficulty of overtaking at this venue. Martin Brundle, a former F1 driver, also commended Norris for his impressive charge.
“This is arguably one of the greatest performances of Lando’s career.”
On Sunday, Lando Norris was determined to achieve his goal during the race.
The driver for McLaren made an impressive move from 17th place to 5th place in the race! #F1 #MexicoGP pic.twitter.com/vI8H1JTK8R
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 30, 2023
Despite this, Norris was unable to overlook the mistake he made during qualifying. If he had qualified better, a podium finish could have been possible. During an interview with Motorsport, he looked back on what could have been.
“People often wonder why I seem disappointed at times. Today is a perfect example of why. It’s only natural for me to feel disappointed in situations like this.” he said.
Why would I be content with a day like Saturday when there is an opportunity to achieve a podium finish, win another trophy, and earn more points?
Can Oscar Piastri’s impressive performance at McLaren be seen as evidence of his talent surpassing that of Daniel Ricciardo?
Is McLaren’s speed a cause for concern, as stated by Oscar Piastri?
Oscar Piastri’s performance brings McLaren down from their high, as Lando Norris’ comeback masks their underlying vulnerability. This article was published on EssentiallySports.