Norris won’t be so easy on Piastri with points on the line

McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri battle for position in Saudi Arabia

McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri battle for position in Saudi Arabia

Lando Norris has made it clear to Oscar Piastri that he will not have it so easy during their next on-track F1 battle if points are on the line.

The McLaren team-mates crossed swords for the first time during the closing laps of Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Unfortunately for the duo, it was only for 16th position due to an unfortunate incident at the start when the front wing of Australian Piastri’s MCL60 was broken following a minor collision with the Alpine of Pierre Gasly.

Norris, who had started 19th after damaged a steering arm during qualifying after kissing a wall, then ran over the debris which in turn led to his own front wing breaking.

Piastri pitted at the end of the first lap, with Norris following a lap later, effectively ruining both of their races.

Late in the race, Norris and Piastri then diced for position, with the Melburnian making a move on the Briton, who then quickly repaid the favour.

Norris was ultimately instructed to let Piastri by given the respective pace of the two cars, which allowed the latter to overtake Logan Sargeant in his Williams to claim 15th.

“It was good, my first time racing Oscar,” said Norris. “It was good fun.

“The team told me not to make it too hard for him, so in the end I let him go. I probably could have got the Williams – I think I would have got the Williams myself.

“But I let him go, I made his life easier. I let him have a chance of getting past the Williams, which he did

“It would be different if I was fighting for points, but 16th and 17th…”

McLaren not as bad as we look – Norris

Piastri qualifying eighth had raised expectations of the team collecting its first points. Instead, for the first time since 2017, McLaren has failed to score in the opening two races of a season.

Norris insists the situation is not as bad as is being painted at present.

Despite driving a car that doesn’t “follow very well”, and “struggles in the dirty air too much”, Norris added: “I don’t think it’s too different to last year, in a way it’s a little bit better than last year. It’s just the field is tighter.

“We just had more issues, more reliability problems in race one, and obviously my mistake (in qualifying), and from Oscar’s side, the incident with Gasly cost us.

“It’s not as bad as what it looks I would say. We’re not quick, that’s the honest answer.

“It’s just that when it’s closer than ever, it’s more punishing when things don’t go your way.”

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