McLaren Boss Hails Piastri’s Strengths Post-Miami F1 Race

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella sees Lando Norris’s inaugural Formula 1 triumph in Miami as a potential source of encouragement for Oscar Piastri, following the setback the Australian faced due to a collision.

Piastri demonstrated a stronger start among the McLaren duo in Miami, navigating his way past Norris, Carlos Sainz, and Sergio Perez when the latter overshot the first corner.

Despite piloting a McLaren that lacked all the enhancements featured on Norris’s MCL38, Piastri exhibited impressive pace early on, overtaking Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari to secure second place behind Max Verstappen.

However, it was Norris who surged ahead, strategically delaying his solitary pit stop until a mid-race safety car period, which afforded the Briton a cost-free stop. Subsequently, Norris masterfully controlled the remainder of the race, clinching a resounding debut victory.

In the tussle for fourth position, Sainz incurred a penalty for colliding with Piastri, necessitating the Australian to pit for a new front wing and relegating him to 13th place at the checkered flag.

Despite the unfortunate outcome of his own race, Stella opines that Piastri can draw inspiration from his performance alongside Norris in Miami, especially considering he piloted a McLaren with less advanced specifications.

Furthermore, Piastri is set to receive the same specification upgrades as Norris for the upcoming race in Imola.

“I think Oscar comes out of this weekend even more conscious of his strengths as a driver,” Stella remarked.

“We knew already how fast he is on a single lap, considering that he didn’t have the full package. Let me pay proper credit to Oscar, the gap he had to Lando in qualifying is smaller than the difference of the package he had.

“So, he was really pulling off strong performance over a single lap in very difficult conditions like all drivers said with the soft tyres.”

Stella continued: “His performance in the race was again very strong. Lando said something really nice before, he said by looking at Oscar overtaking a Ferrari, he felt: ‘Wow, we are actually there today’, so it was a realisation for Lando himself.

“He comes away from this weekend with this sort of conviction, especially in terms of race pace, which is something we wanted to improve having looked at Japan, having looked at China. So, for me, he’s in a very strong place.”

Stella also commended Piastri for his mature response upon learning that Norris would receive priority for the full upgrade package, encompassing a revised floor and sidepods.

“He has proven once again how strong a team player he is, because clearly when I told him, ‘Oscar we are going to give the sidepods and the floor to Lando’, he wasn’t the happiest in the bottom of his heart,” Stella commented.

“But at no point he made this decision difficult or asked why. He understood the reasoning and he was immediately supportive, like all the entourage around Oscar.”