Oscar Piastri says he will ‘pat himself on the back’ after delivering in the moments in F1 2023, as Andrea Stella praises him.
It didn’t start well but ended on point for McLaren’s Piastri in his rookie F1 season. To get a sprint win and a podium finish in the main grand prix was something unexpected at the start, but he made it possible despite the learning process in the year.
He credits McLaren for the improvements but notes he would pat himself on the back for delivering in the moments too. “It’s definitely been a great season, a lot of highlights that I wouldn’t have been able to do without the team improving the car the way they did, so I have to give a lot of credit to them,” said Piastri to media.
“But also, I have to pat myself on the back. I had to deliver in those moments, too. For me, probably the proudest moments were in Silverstone, where we rocked up with a car that was competitive, and I was able to get the most out of it. Japan, okay, not my finest race, but I did enough to score my first podium, and Qatar, we had one opportunity in the whole year to actually win something, and we managed to take it, so I can be very proud of that.
“There were definitely some trickier weekends and things still to work on,” summed up Piastri, who has certainly learnt a whole lot this year and now wishes to work on delivering from the get go rather than as the race progresses. His stints at the start has been average but he has picked up as the races have progressed.
“As a whole season, you don’t win championships by one or two good weekends,” Piastri continued. “I know that from my junior career, so I just need to make that happen more often. I definitely know a lot now than I did coming into the year, even in Abu Dhabi. Hopefully, I can be more on it from the start of a weekend.
“Even in the final race in Abu Dhabi, the pace was really good from the start but just making a lot of mistakes. I would in some ways, I’d rather it be that way than going into qualifying a few tenths off, scratching my head and wondering how I’m going do it. As opposed to the second half of the year, if there has been a gap, it’s more often than not been because of mistakes rather than lacking pace.
“So I think with races there’s still some work to do. I feel like I’m slowly getting there, but I’m happy with how I’m tracking, and I definitely know a lot more now than I did coming into the year,” summed up Piastri, as team boss Stella was full of praise especially for the Australian’s quick and rapid learning.
“I can confirm that definitely our perception, our analysis is that Oscar’s season has just been exceptional,” said Stella. “And when I say exceptional, like beyond our expectation. Even in Abu Dhabi, he started learning things, and then he was there in P3 in qualifying. In the race he kind of needed to learn a couple of things at the start.
“Like I think he was a little naive when Lando overtook him. And then even in the second stint, managing the tyres he left, I think, some performance behind. Then you go on to the third stint, so you have another opportunity of a stint on hard tyres, and he has a very strong stint.
“So it’s the rapidity at which he learns that I think makes him exceptional. I think this has been true in whatever scale you take. Within the time of a race, within the timeframe of an event, within the timeframe of the season, just his gradient is so impressive. It obviously creates expectation for next season, and expectations require work to be confirmed.
“Another thing is that he’s such a grounded person. He’s so focused, he’s so committed, and if anything, working with him will be more about what do we need to do to confirm this gradient. Work that effectively has already started in terms of planning ahead onto the winter,” summed up Stella.
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