Piastri encouraged by scoring points before McLaren upgrades

John Toscano/Motorsport Images

Piastri encouraged by scoring points before McLaren upgrades

Formula 1

Piastri encouraged by scoring points before McLaren upgrades


McLaren’s double point-scoring result in the Australian Grand Prix was particularly important as it stops the team being too far adrift before its first round of upgrades, according to Oscar Piastri.

Two scoreless races had left McLaren at the bottom of the constructors’ championship heading to Melbourne, but sixth place for Lando Norris and eighth for Piastri moved it up to fifth overall in the space of one weekend. McLaren has acknowledged it isn’t happy with its launch-spec 2023 car and is set for a major raft of updates in Baku next time out, and Piastri says that makes the result even more valuable.

“To have both of us in the points is good,” Piastri said. “Obviously it hasn’t been a great first few races for the team but largely things out of our control. More things out of our control went right I guess to get us into the points, but to get this amount of points this early in the year is a great result.

“We’ve also got some upgrades coming in Baku and later through the year, so to be able to get some points on the board with the car we have at the moment I think is really important.”

While Norris ran in the top 10 throughout on Sunday, Piastri wasn’t in the frame for points until late red flags accounted for the two Alpine drivers, and he admits it felt like payback for misfortune in the opening two rounds.

“Maybe a little bit, yeah. The first two races really couldn’t have gone much worse I would say for the team. In Bahrain we both had our issues and Saudi the contact wiping out both of us, so it was nice to be on the good end of things going wrong for other people.”

One area McLaren appeared to be clearly lacking in Melbourne was in straight line speed as Piastri struggled to pass Yuki Tsunoda, but the rookie believes the deficit is not as big as it appears but wasn’t helped by his own lack of experience.

“It’s tricky. We obviously know we’re quite slow on the straights at the moment, which is something that we’re looking to address and I think the AlphaTauri probably wasn’t that much quicker in a straight line, but I think even with the fourth DRS it’s still difficult to overtake here. I think for me, still some learning to do on how to use the battery most effectively to overtake but I had a lot of practice with it, so still good learning.”