Brundle: Norris 'wounded' by Piastri's sprint win

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. 25.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images
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Sky Sports F1 commentator and pundit Martin Brundle says that Lando Norris will be feeling 'wounded' by his McLaren team mate Oscar Piastri claiming a breakthrough win in Qatar's sprint race in his rookie season.

By contrast, Norris himself is yet to record a win in 104 Grand Prix races since making his debut in Australia at the start of 2019. He has finished as runner-up seven times and scored a maiden pole in Russia in 2021.

But as the de facto team leader at McLaren this year despite still being just 24, Norris had been expecting to be in prime position when it came to being first in line to challenge for wins in 2023.

Instead he's come under immediate pressure from Piastri, who on top of taking sprint pole and victory in Qatar, also claimed second place in the Spa sprint. Norris on the podium on two out of the six sprints, but without a win.

"It’s within touching distance [between Norris and Piastri] and he must be mortally wounded that it was actually Piastri who saw the chequered flag first," Brundle commented in Sky's end-of-season review.

"Piastri won the Sprint race in Qatar in great style with Max trying to catch him," the former F1 driver added. "Piastri has really sharpened Lando Norris up.

"Piastri has turned up as a rookie, delivering the high speeds through the really challenging corners, delivering some amazing results," he continued, also acknowledging: “Made some rookie errors as well.

“Now [Norris] has to get on with it," Brundle said. "It's probably just what Lando needed, because I think in the second half of the season he has been outstanding.”

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL60. 25.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Despite not recording that much-wanted win, McLaren's surge in performance from Austria onwards helped Norris put together his most productive season to date with seven podiums and a career-best 205 points.

Brundle suggested that "if they put everything else together" then McLaren can be in contention for a race victory despite Red Bull's current domination of the sport.

"Remember even a couple of years back there was a sequence of three races where Lando could have won all three of them," Brundle said, recalling the 2021 Italian and Russian GPs.

Victory in Italy went instead to Norris' then-team mate Daniel Ricciardo, with Norris thwarted by team orders telling him to hold station in second, in the belief that his time to win wouldn't be long in coming.

Sprint race winner Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren with 2nd Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. 07.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Sprint Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

But it hasn't happened yet, and Norris is fast graduating from being 'bright young star of tomorrow' to experienced journeyman of today and needs the win to elevate his status and keep him above Piastri in the pecking order.

Brundle’s Sky colleague Naomi Schiff has no doubt that Norris' moment will come. “He is special,” she insisted. “He has been waiting very long already to get to this point

"You’ve got to say that now they are as close as they’ve ever been - at least in the time that Lando has been with the team - to potentially having those wins," Schiff added.

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