Piastri finest F1 debutant since Verstappen

On the day Max Verstappen clinched his third successive drivers’ title, Formula 1 celebrated another victor – Oscar Piastri.

“I feel like Max has stolen Oscar’s limelight a little bit, but both deserve it today,” Lando Norris mentioned, the 22-year-old Australian novice Piastri’s comrade at the rejuvenated McLaren squad.

The esteemed British driver Norris, a year senior to Piastri but boasting a few more seasons, found his moment eclipsed in Qatar too.

Questioned about his missteps over the weekend, Norris replied post Piastri’s pole and triumph on Saturday sprint day: “Nothing. Just a lack of talent.”

Interestingly, Piastri secured a win in his maiden F1 year, but Norris landed an undesired F1 accolade at Suzuka not long ago – acquiring the most world championship points ever without securing a win.

Probed if his time to relish the podium’s pinnacle was near, Norris responded: “I hope so.

“I mean, I’ve been trying a long time, but Oscar’s done a mega job this weekend. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and he hasn’t and he’s capitalised and he’s done a better job, so just hats-off to him.”

As for him, Norris added: “I guess everyone has weekends like this. It’s just a shame I’m doing it when the car’s as quick as it is.”

Renowned Dutch analyst Olav Mol noted the significance of Piastri standing atop the podium precisely when Verstappen finalized what is arguably the most commanding show by any champ in F1’s annals.

“He is the best rookie in Formula 1 since Verstappen,” he shared with Ziggo Sport. “He’s in that same bracket.

“Joining McLaren after navigating past their recent hurdles was a stroke of luck for him. His skills now have room to thrive.”

On the other hand, past F1 racer Ralf Schumacher believes there’s much for Piastri, Norris, and McLaren to be cheerful about.

“McLaren is in a very comfortable position for the future because they have two excellent and young drivers,” he told Sky Deutschland.

“Norris still seems better over long runs with his experience, so it will take some more time for Piastri. But he is someone who has the potential to compete for titles in the future. I’m very sure of that,” the German added.

“But in the future, the Norris-Piastri duo will definitely be one of the strongest in the field. Norris is already at the highest level while Piastri certainly needs another year or two,” Schumacher said.

“As a rookie, he is already at an incredible level and one has to assume that his teammate can also be a future world champion.”