Piastri already more daring to Norris than Ricciardo: ‘Made some impressive performances’

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Piastri already more daring to Norris than Ricciardo: ‘Made some impressive performances’

Damon Hill has been impressed by Oscar Piastri’s performance over the first two Grand Prix weekends. Although the Australian had to take a retirement in Bahrain and only finished in 15th place in Jeddah, the rookie showed during his moments on the track that he could make Lando Norris harder than Daniel Ricciardo has done. The McLaren driver has therefore had a good start to his F1 career, but the question is whether he may regret his choice to close the door to Alpine behind him.

“I agree with that,” Hill says in conversation with Motorsport.com, when asked whether Piastri is already more daring with Norris than Ricciardo was. “What happened to Ricciardo is a bit of a mystery, I don’t know exactly what happened there. But Oscar arrived fresh and fruity, looks confident and is very much at home in Formula 1. He has already put in some impressive performances, which bodes well for the rest of the season. I’m sure Lando will be harder to beat once he gets into the rhythm, but he will learn a lot. It’s about your speed in qualifying, and he did that well in Saudi Arabia.’

It is important that the Australian gets off to a good start right away, according to the former world champion. “If you have a weak start, it can take a whole season to recover. The great drivers entered Formula 1 with a bang. They were just there. When Michael Schumacher, Max Verstappen and Ayrton Senna arrived, everyone thought: ‘Wow, where did that come from? Who is this boy?’ I wouldn’t say Oscar has had that chance yet, but he certainly looked very competent and solid. He’s not someone you think, ‘Oh my gosh, that looks shaky,'” Hill said of Piastri.

The Brit draws a comparison with a former rookie who has now had to leave the grid again. “Mick Schumacher never really put in that kind of standout performance and struggled to instill the confidence that people need in a driver. Before you know it, it will be a huge snowball effect where the snowball gets bigger and bigger and you are crushed by it, “says the former F1 driver, who emphasizes that this will not apply to the McLaren driver for the time being. “Oscar doesn’t have to worry about that for now. He has a solid foundation from which to start.’

May regret choosing McLaren

Although the start of Piastri’s F1 career looks rosy, Hill thinks there is a point that will stick the driver. McLaren drives at the back of the field, while Alpine, the team he left, competes well in the middle bracket. “He probably thought McLaren was the best option, the better environment for him. Alpine is good at the moment. They don’t set the world on fire, but they look more competitive than McLaren. So yes, maybe he regrets that.’

Still, the analyst doubts whether it really was such a bad choice, because with Norris as a teammate, he has the opportunity to beat someone highly regarded within the sport. “On the other hand, he is now up against the highly regarded Lando. It is a strange thing in our sport that as a driver you are judged on your performance compared to your teammate. You can be in a less competitive car, but all you need is to be faster than a man who some say is a future world champion.’

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