Stella satisfied with Piastri’s performance in Australia, as he took “no unnecessary risks”

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Photo : @McLarenF1

After an opening to the season season that “really couldn’t have gone that much worse” for McLaren – from the electrical issues in Bahrain to the double DNF on the very first laps of the Saudi Arabian GP – this time around it was time for the team “to be on the good end of things.”

In a rather chaotic Australian GP Oscar Piastri and teammate Lando Norris finished in P8 and P6 bringing back to Woking the first points of the season – 12 in total that vaulted the team up to fifth place in the constructor’s standings.

“To get this amount of points this early in the year is obviously something we needed,” commented Piastri at the end of the race.

“Some more things out of our control went right today, I guess, to get us into the points.”

In between the three red flags Piastri rose up from P16 to P9, to get promoted to P8 following Carlos Sainz’s much discussed penalty.

At the first restart the 21 year-old found himself stuck behind Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri until he managed to overtake the Japanese around the outside after a wheel to wheel that saw them briefly touch without sustaining any damage.

“I think it was a bit of a squeeze, but no harm done,” he said.

“It was a crazy race, obviously. I think that’s the first race I’ve had with three red flags – I think it’s probably most people’s first race like that. So yeah, kept ourselves out of trouble and ended up in the points at the end, which is great.”

Of the same notice is Team Principal Andrea Stella, who was asked whether it took Piastri a little too long to get past Tsunoda.

“I think Oscar’s race today is extremely positive,” he told media after the chequered flag.

“He managed to stay out of trouble in a complex race. Actually he managed to stay out of trouble even when there was a situation in corner one in which he was squeezed, he stayed calm.

“In terms of how long it took to overtake, I’m not sure if it could have been more rapid or not, but that’s to be honest not very relevant.

“With Oscar clearly our main objective is to just keep progressing so we want to stay in the race, no unnecessary risks and ultimately capitalise.”

And what better place than Albert Park to score his first F1 points, given that Piastri was born in Melbourne? Something – as it was suggested to Stella – that has a rather romantic connotation.

“I like this, in all this engineering and racing world we want to for once have a romantic word, so I am happy that he scored his first points in Melbourne.”

After a brilliant stint in junior series – he won F3 and F2 both in his rookie season – the Australian was forced to spend a year on the sidelines as with no seats available in F1 last season he couldn’t race again in F2 having just won it.

This March he finally made his debut for McLaren in Bahrain, where he quickly caught the attention of the Team Principal.

“We were not very concerned about the rust already having seen his – even if it was a short race – the race in Bahrain. It was competitive,” he remarked.

“The first stint obviously for the big audience maybe it wasn’t very apparent, but for us looking at the details we were very happy with the pace already in Bahrain.

“Today it was a little more eventful in terms of close racing, and in this sense we are very pleased with the fact that he could race hard, he could race competitively but without any trouble.”