Piastri, the 2021 Formula 2 champion, came into McLaren this season following a protracted transfer saga involving Alpine, with the battle between the two teams indicative of how much was expected of the Australian rookie.
Piastri’s first season was being overshadowed by a car that was not performing well until a complete summer upgrade package greatly improved McLaren’s MCL60, making it much more competitive.
It allowed the established Lando Norris to take two second places in Britain and Hungary and also gave Piastri the chance to clinch a top three in the Belgian Grand Prix sprint race before the summer break.
His Spa result was the latest in a string of strong finishes after a fourth place in Silverstone, where he lost a certain podium due to being undercut during the pitstops, and a fifth place in Budapest.
Stella, the team principal, states that Piastri’s recent impressive performances align perfectly with what the team had observed throughout his first season. At 22 years old, Piastri now possesses the necessary equipment to convert his good form into concrete outcomes.
Stella stated that the current location of the person in question is a component of the gradient that was evident since the beginning during testing and the initial races.
I’m uncertain if Piastri’s progress has truly sped up. I believe he simply capitalized on the car becoming more competitive, resulting in more chances to demonstrate his abilities.
Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Erik Junius
I believe this aligns with what we observed initially. Gaining access to a McLaren car was not a simple task. We have been discussing the qualities of this vehicle and the challenges it presents to drivers, as it tends to feel quite uncomfortable.
Therefore, we had already noticed this at the beginning of the season, although it was not as noticeable to others due to the lack of competitiveness in the car. Hence, I would argue that he is solidifying the progression that we observed initially.
During the sprint race at Spa, Piastri secured the second position in qualifying and demonstrated a controlled performance in the rainy weather. He successfully maintained his position behind the leading Red Bull car driven by Max Verstappen, who was leading the championship by a significant margin.
Stella believes that Piastri’s experienced and composed performance in challenging circumstances made him appear like a seasoned professional.
Stella mentioned that the fascinating thing about Oscar is how effortlessly he handles everything. He effortlessly manages to pit, take the lead in the race, and smoothly transition from intermediate to dry conditions without making any mistakes.
“I think this is the most impressive thing that I can witness. And all this is achieved with a pretty unique approach in terms of how calm and considerate he is. And so far, indeed quite impressive.”