Piastri says racing experience ‘came back pretty naturally’ on F1 debut

Oscar Piastri’s F1 debut lasted only 13 laps in Bahrain, but it was still a valuable experience for the McLaren rookie whose racing intuition came back “pretty naturally”.

Piastri headed into his maiden Grand Prix weekend well prepared but with his last race start dating all the way back to his final outing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship in December 2021, there were a few procedures and automatisms to revive at Sakhir.

Unfortunately, the Aussie’s evening was cut short by an electrical issue on his MCL60 that limited his track time, but starting his first race was nevertheless an important for the McLaren charger.

“It was nice,” Piastri told the media after his early retirement.

“The start of the race, like the grid procedure, someone in front of me stopped in the wrong box, I don’t know if it was Logan [Sargeant] or someone else but it was a bit of a last minute move into the correct box.

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“It all happened pretty quick, but I thought it was really good.

“I didn’t get the cleanest run into Turn 1 with Tsunoda, but yeah, for my first lap, it was pretty reasonable.

“After that, I was sort of in the DRS train, not being able to do much until some other people had some tyre deg and then managed to pass Hulkenberg.

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“So all in all, I think a lot of boxes ticked from the start and obviously I was pacing myself, so it was positive.”

Given the multiple procedures involved in starting his first race and his fourteen-month absence from racing, Piastri adapted well to his new environment, helped by his knowledge of the Bahrain International Circuit.

“I was I’d say pleasantly surprised and it came back pretty naturally,” he said of his launch off the grid.

“Getting a good start, a good launch was a good confidence booster and then I did my homework for the first lap, and I’ve raced around here enough so I knew a little bit of what to expect.

“I thought from my side, everything was going pretty well, the experience in the dirty air effect, following [another car], managing the battery pack at the start of the race are all now boxes that I’ve ticked off, or at least partially ticked off.”

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