Oscar Piastri says his maiden Formula 1 season with McLaren was a whirlwind of ups and downs, and a “bigger rollercoaster” ride than he expected.
Despite entering the season with tempered expectations due to McLaren’s lack of competitiveness, Piastri's exceptional talent shone through when an early summer upgrade package transformed McLaren's fortunes.
Seizing the opportunity, Piastri delivered a series of impressive drives, showcasing his immense potential. He twice ascended the podium, securing a second-place finish in Qatar and a third-place finish in Japan.
His performance in Qatar was particularly remarkable, as he claimed victory in the sprint event, cementing his arrival as a force to be reckoned with in Formula 1.
In the wake of his impressive late-season surge, Piastri finished the year in a respectable ninth place in F1’s Drivers standings.
His teammate, Lando Norris, outscored him by 205 points to 97, but the Aussie’s undeniable talent and resilience were evident throughout the season.
"It's definitely been a bigger rollercoaster than I expected," he said. "I knew there would be ups and downs, maybe not as down at the start or as up at the end!
"But I've really learned a lot. I feel like I've had basically every situation you could have, apart from a championship fight.
"So it's been a good year in terms of learning, I think as a team, where we're learning how to compete at the front again, which is exciting.
"It's not a position we've been in for 10 years. So nice to be having these conversations again, going through these scenarios.
"And for me, it's really a privilege to be fighting at the front so early in my career. There are people that go their whole F1 career that don't have the opportunity that I've had in 22 races.
"So I'm very, very grateful for that. And I'm looking forward to plenty more years to come where hopefully we can do that more often."
Piastri praised McLaren for its unwavering efforts to improve its MCL60 design, while also giving himself a “pat on the back”.
"A lot of highlights that I wouldn't have been able to do without the team improving the car the way we did. So I have to give a lot of credit to them,” he said.
"But also, I guess to pat myself on the back, I had to deliver in those moments too.
"I think for me, that's probably the proudest moment, Silverstone where we rocked up with a car that was competitive, I was able to get the most out of it.
"Japan, not my finest race, but did enough to score on my first podium. And Qatar we had one opportunity really in the whole year to actually win something. And we managed to take it.
“For me, I can be very proud of that. Definitely some trickier weekends, and things still to work on as a whole season.
"You don't win championships by one or two good weekends. I know that from my junior career, so just need to make that happen more often."