In a sport where rookies can drown, Oscar Piastri has proven capable of competing at the highest level in F1 – enjoying positive feedback across various news outlets. The Australian has been close to Lando Norris for much of 2023, but he believes there is room for improvement.
Piastri wasted no time making an impression this year, making Q3 in a very underwhelming MCL60 on the streets of Jeddah. His first points in Australia further consolidated this strong start, though things have improved dramatically since then.
The 22-year-old keeps the experienced and highly rated Lando Norris honest, holding his own against the multiple podium-finisher in qualifying and race trim.
Considering the pace shown by rookies in Formula 1 over recent seasons, Piastri’s level of performance is perhaps the highest for a new driver since Charles Leclerc burst onto the scene.
A more competitive McLaren has seen the F2 and F3 Champion demonstrate the calibre of driving that explains why there was a legal battle to secure his services last season.
Misfortune cost Piastri an opportunity to claim a maiden podium in both Silverstone and the Hungaroring, but this does not detract from his speed.
With the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc competing at the sharp end of the field, the Australian seems more than comfortable battling against the very best.
Despite this, he told Speedcafe about areas where he can improve for the second half of 2023:
“Try and continue to build on getting quicker, having complete races and just eliminating some of these mistakes.
“I’m obviously able to get quite close to Lando in most sessions, but I want to take that next step and really be able to challenge him.
“I want to try and continue to improve myself.
“I’m happy with the level I’m at, but I feel like there still can be more.”
This assessment seems to accurately represent the first twelve rounds of the year, which can be categorised as an objective success.
From the McLaren perspective, they have the luxury of two very young and (if Piastri continues this trajectory) top-performing drivers at their disposal.
Considering some of the dynamics between teammates at other teams, the Woking-based outfit must capitalise on its fantastic duo and deliver machinery capable of fighting at the sharp end of the field.
Piastri will surely take plenty of F1 news headlines for years to come, so observing his development over the next few months will be intriguing.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang