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"That McLaren is a rocketship"; Lando Norris and McLaren become the hometown heroes

“That McLaren is a rocketship.” is what Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had to say about the papaya colored car during the British Grand Prix. The British Grand Prix had many unexpected outcomes this past weekend. All eyes seemed to be on the home team McLaren and their hometown hero Lando Norris. The weekend could not have gone any better for the team seeing as both drivers finished in the top five this past weekend. Unarguably, the best finish for the team and drivers so far this season.

During the first practice, McLaren managed to keep a steady pace with both drivers remaining in the top ten; Lando Norris in eighth and Oscar Piastri in tenth. The second practice went slightly better for Oscar Piastri seeing as he was able to improve his time and move to ninth, yet Norris’s time only managed to place him in 14th place. The final practice that took place Saturday before Qualifying was the last chance for the drivers to improve their abilities in the car in order to have a successful Qualifying. However, it seemed like the McLaren drivers were down on their luck. The final times during that practice session placed Norris in 12th and Piastri in 17th. The team had not lost their faith seeing as the weekend was not over yet and the best was yet to come.

During the first qualifying session, the session had to be stopped due to Magnussen’s car stopping abruptly on the track after reports of noises that were being made by the car. After that first qualifying session, Norris and Piastri managed to survive and make it to the second qualifying session. Luck was beginning to be on the side of the Aussie and the Brit, seeing as both Piastri and Norris had made it to the final stage of qualifying. It was as if the prayers of the hometown team had been answered. After an intense qualifying session, the McLaren drivers were able to clutch a second place and third place start for the grand prix on Sunday. Lando was able to secure the second place position on the grid next to Verstappen while Piastri managed to secure a third place start. Not only was the wonder kid able to receive his best start of the season but he also managed to secure his best start of his Formula 1 career all while being the only rookie of the season to do it so far.

Courtesy of Mark Thompson/Getty Images

It was finally race day and the Silverstone crowd was roaring with excitement seeing as one of their very own was on the front line of the starting grid. When it was “lights out and away we go," Norris was able to get in front of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and take over as race leader. The crowd in Silverstone was ecstatic during this time. Lando was able to lead the race for the first five laps until Max was able to regain his position as the race leader. Meanwhile, Piastri had lost his third place spot to Lewis Hamilton who had made his way up the grid from seventh place. It was now up to Norris to defend his position against Lewis, who once was a part of the McLaren team as well during the first two years of his Formula 1 career. In the end, the grand prix ended with Verstappen winning the race, Norris securing that second place position, and Hamilton finishing the podium in third. Piastri also managed to finish the race in fourth, which is his top finish by far this season. In a post race interview, Lewis commented how “that McLaren is a rocketship,” while congratulating Lando and the McLaren team, seeing as that was the team that started his career.

Courtesy of Dan Istitene/F1 via Getty Images

Oscar Piastri: F1’s Potential Rookie of the Year?

Oscar Piastri’s name is not new to the world of F1. Piastri’s name was first mentioned last year during the summer break and what most know to be “silly season”. Piastri was the reserve driver for Alpine last year until they decided to name him as a driver for the 2023 season. The announcement came too soon seeing as Piastri had to announce that he had not committed to the team officially. It was then announced that he would be replacing the Aussie at McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo for the 2023 season. Piastri has many great achievements under his belt. He has three back to back championship titles starting in 2019 with the Formula Renault Eurocop, in 2020 with the Formula 3 Championship title and in 2021 with the Formula 2 Championship title. The beginning of the season was a tough one for Piastri to say the least. During the first race of his F1 career, he managed to secure a DNF. In his second race, he had slight improvement and was able to finish the race in 15th place. It wasn't until his third and coincidentally his hometown race in Australia that Oscar was able to secure points by finishing in eight. He was the first or so far only rookie out of the trio this year that has managed to score points let alone finish a race in fourth. Although the season is only half way in, Oscar has sure enough proved his worth so far and why he deserves to have a seat in F1. It is exciting to see what the wonder kid has in store for us for the rest of season and his time with McLaren.

Courtesy of Getty Images/Dan Istitene

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