Damon Hill and Anthony Davidson expressed their profound admiration for McLaren’s rookie sensation, Oscar Piastri. Reflecting on a tumultuous season for McLaren, which only found its stride after a challenging start, the seasoned commentators highlighted the team’s resurgence as they consistently rivaled powerhouses Mercedes and Ferrari at the forefront of the grid.
Since overcoming early struggles, McLaren, led by Lando Norris, has witnessed a remarkable turnaround, securing seven podium finishes for the British driver post-British Grand Prix. Only Max Verstappen has surpassed Norris in top-three finishes during this period, emphasizing McLaren’s resurgence in the latter half of the season.
While Norris faced stiff competition from his teammate throughout the year, the spotlight turned to the impressive performance of McLaren’s rookie, Oscar Piastri. The Australian driver achieved a milestone that eluded Norris for over 100 races by winning the Sprint Race in Qatar.
During the commentary, Hill and Davidson shared their sentiments on Piastri’s stellar debut season. Davidson noted, “[Oscar] Piastri, he’s one of those drivers, a rookie as well, he’s had a phenomenal season, really taken the fight to Lando Norris, very close in qualifying between the two of them always.” Damon Hill concurred, praising Piastri’s ability to adapt to new tracks, stating, “He’s done fantastically well to cope with all those [new tracks]. You are at a massive disadvantage if you’ve never been to track against, let’s say, your teammate who has been there before.”
McLaren’s confidence in Piastri is evident as they have already secured the promising rookie with a longer contract, a testament to his potential in the sport.
In the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, Piastri once again showcased his exceptional talent. While his more experienced teammate faced setbacks, Piastri maintained his composure. Although his raw pace may not currently match Norris’s, Piastri secured a higher starting position for the race.
In a season where two of the three rookies faced uncertainties, with one losing his seat and the other under significant pressure, Piastri stands out. Despite being in the fastest car among the trio, he has capitalized on the opportunity, positioning himself for a promising and enduring career in Formula 1.