That is the verdict of former F1 driver and Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle in his assessment of how the team fared over the past season.
After a miserable start to the year due to the pre-warned lack of development with the MCL60, the arrival of upgrades from the Austrian Grand Prix turned the team's season around.
Despite Norris finishing second only to champion Max Verstappen from that race onwards for points scored, it was rookie team-mate Piastri who gave McLaren its one triumph of the year by taking the chequered flag in the Qatar sprint.
Brundle feels it was another opportunity missed for Norris, to add to those in 2021 when he missed out on wins in the Italian and Russian Grands Prix.
Confident McLaren will win a grand prix next season, speaking on Sky Sports F1's season review show, 158 grand prix veteran Brundle said: “Let's remember that Oscar Piastri won the sprint race in Qatar in great style, with Max trying to catch him.
“I think they are just starting to get there. Their new wind tunnel I don't think will pay a lot of dividends until 2025.
“But if they put everything else together well…and remember even a couple of years back there was a sequence of races where Lando could have won, so it's within touching distance.
“And he must be mortally wounded that it was Piastri who saw the chequered flag first.”
Brundle, though, claims Piastri's arrival has “sharpened up Norris”, adding: “Lando had to get on with it a little bit.
“Piastri has turned up, as a rookie, delivering the high speeds through the challenging corners, delivering some amazing results, made some rookie errors as well, but I think that's driven both drivers on.
“It's probably just what Lando needed because, in the second half of the season, he has been outstanding.”
It was a different story over the first nine races before the update as McLaren was last in the constructors' championship after the first two after failing to score a point, and with only 17 to their team going into the race at Spielberg.
“It looked awful didn't it?” said Brundle. “Oscar, who had changed his mind in not going to Alpine, must have wondered if he'd made a terrible mistake.
“But the good news for the team is every time they brought an update for that car, it worked superbly, suggesting the calibration of the wind tunnel, the CFD, the track, the stopwatch, was all matching up.
“They've done a tremendous job. Andrea Stella has grown into the position at the team; the commerciality of the team through Zak; the car looks great, lots of important sponsors on it; a brilliant driver line-up it turns out, and everything has gelled for them.”