Piastri expecting ‘step crazier’ Australian GP
Oscar Piastri is fully expecting this year’s Australian Grand Prix to be “another step crazier” next weekend following his initial experience from a year ago.
Piastri has so far experienced a difficult start to his F1 career following his high-profile move last summer from Alpine to McLaren.
After retiring early in the season-opening race in Bahrain, the 21-year-old then had points in his sights after qualifying eighth for last weekend’s race in Saudi Arabia.
But in the opening few seconds, Piastri was involved in a minor collision with the Alpine of Pierre Gasly which broke the front wing on his MCL60, forcing him into a change at the end of the first lap and effectively ruining his race.
Although Piastri saw the chequered flag for the first time in F1, he crossed the line 15th.
Next up is the race in his home city of Melbourne, which threatens to be an eye-opening experience, even if he did gain an insight when he served as reserve driver with Alpine 12 months ago.
Asked by Speedcafe as to how much he was looking forward to the event, Piastri said: “Yeah, a lot.
“Obviously, it’s my first home race as a driver, which will be an amazing experience, regardless of how it goes. So yeah, can’t wait.”
As to the likely hype and clamour around him, he said: “Even last year, being a reserve driver, it was already a pretty crazy experience.
“So I think I’ve got somewhat of an idea to expect but I’m pretty sure it’ll be another step crazier this year.
“But I’m looking forward to it. It’s an honour to have a home race and, for me, in my hometown as well, it’s going to be very special.”
Piastri taking each positive
Piastri at least offered a glimpse of what he is capable of in rescuing McLaren’s qualifying session at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit after team-mate Lando Norris broke a steering arm on his car in kissing a wall during Q1.
The fact Piastri managed to get the car into the top 10 in a car that is clearly off the pace at present was an achievement.
The Melburnian also completed his first race distance, notably going 49 laps on the hard tyres in Jeddah following his one-and-only stop at the end of lap one.
Piastri was grateful for that. He said: “At this point, getting laps under my belt is still the most important thing. In the end, there was good experience gained.
“Qualifying was obviously a really good day for myself and the team – just a shame about lap one.
“After that, the race was reasonable. Doing 49 laps on the hards is just some good learning for us on the tyres and stuff like that.
“Definitely some positives. Just the results don’t really show it on Sunday at the moment, unfortunately.
“We’ll now see what we can do in Melbourne. The team had a good result there last year, and we’ll see what we’ve got.”
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