Following a slow start to life in the fast lane, McLaren’s rookie driver Oscar Piastri has made a remarkable debut in Formula 1, seamlessly stepping into the seat vacated by his fellow countryman, Daniel Ricciardo.
In his opening 19 races, Piastri has made the podium twice, with both top 3 finishes coming after the team made major improvements to the cars after the British Grand Prix; the young driver has identified exactly where the team started to turn their fortunes around.
“I think the biggest change has been the car,” Piastri told Robb Report. “Since Silverstone, we put some upgrades on the car and really turned things around, which was a nice change from the start of the year. Also, for myself, just getting more and more comfortable with the car, knowing how I need to drive it to be quick, just getting more experience in the races, and more consistency.”
It was a big step up for Piastri to launch himself into Formula 1 following a public two-team grapple for the young Australian’s signature. In the end, McLaren prevailed. Piastri signed with the Papayas and has since started to reward the abundant faith placed in him by the British racing team bosses, consistently finishing in the points to lift his team up the Constructors’.
“At the start of the season, I had some good moments, but now, Austin excluded, I’m starting to put it together a bit more. I think that’s probably been the biggest difference.”
Since Silverstone, in which a late Lewis Hamilton charge denied Piastri his first-ever podium in Formula 1, McLaren’s two young drivers have shown remarkable form to close the gap on the “best of the rest” looking up the Constructors’ from the middle of the pack.
Piastri has scored points in 6 of the subsequent races; he stood on the podium in Japan and Qatar; and even beat three-time World Champion Max Verstappen to the Qatar Sprint for his first race win in F1… although he struggles to count that one.
McLaren has certainly been a team reborn in the second half of the long season, and now, as Oscar Piastri’s long-term future within the sport is secured, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more race wins in the final three weekends, with a Sprint in Brazil to come next.