Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri get a staggering endorsement from an F1 rival

Last season Zak Brown, the McLaren CEO, told me in no uncertain terms that the team’s driver pairing of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri was the best on the grid.

Now that claim has been endorsed by one of McLaren’s biggest rivals.

Speaking with Le Journal de Montréal ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull Senior Advisor Dr. Helmut Marko — who counts driver recruitment as one of his duties with the team — offered the same view of the current grid.

“Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri at McLaren,” said Marko when asked what team has the best pairing on the grid. “They are young and they are hungry. Currently, they get along well and work well together.”

Those comments mirror what Brown told me last October.

“Best driver lineup of the grid when you look at a combination of experience, age, talent,” said the McLaren CEO during our discussion last fall. “I think clearly Lewis [Hamilton] and George [Russell] are awesome. “But Lewis is, you know, towards the near of his career as opposed to the start.

“So I think when you look at a complete package and you’re looking at, you know, five years down the road, there’s some awesome teammates out there but I think given our age, experience, and youthfulness, we’ve got a driver lineup second to none.”

Currently, that driver lineup is performing at an extremely high level. Norris claimed his fifth podium of the season in Montreal, finishing second to Max Verstappen. As for Piastri, he finished fifth, one race after a strong P2 in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Combined, the duo scored 28 points in the Canadian Grand Prix, which moved them three points closer to Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship standings, as Verstappen’s win netted Red Bull 25 points. Third-place McLaren now trails Red Bull by 89 points in the standings, and second-place Ferrari by just 40 points.

At the moment, there is a strong case to be made that McLaren is the hottest team in the sport, a claim that can be backed by this statistic:

And perhaps one of the team’s rivals.

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