Oscar Piastri, the reigning Formula 2 champion, has upstaged his McLaren teammate Lando Norris by beating him to the checkered flag in Bahrain, drawing praise from former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
The Australian driver, who is making his debut in the F1 championship this season, put in a faultless performance in the second race of the season, out-driving Norris on the 5.4km Sakhir circuit.
Piastri, 20, was running in seventh place at the time of the first pit stop and then moved up the order with a series of impressive overtakes, eventually finishing in fifth place.
Meanwhile, Norris, who was tipped to be the stronger of the two McLaren drivers this season, had to settle for sixth place.
Despite the McLaren team’s overall performance, the individual battle between Piastri and Norris was a highlight of the day, drawing admiration from Villeneuve, who won the F1 championship in 1997.
“It’s very impressive to see Piastri beat his teammate Norris, especially in a car that isn’t as competitive as the others,” Villeneuve said.
“Piastri showed great technical skill and race craft, and I’m sure he’ll go on to great things this season.”
Piastri’s performance in Bahrain earned him plaudits from the Formula 1 paddock and marked a successful start to his rookie F1 campaign.
The Australian driver’s skill and composure under pressure have drawn comparisons with his former F2 teammate Mick Schumacher, and Piastri could well prove to be a formidable opponent for Norris in the coming weeks.