Piastri pleased to have shown rivals he's no 'pushover'


McLaren driver Oscar Piastri has revealed that one of his main objectives in his rookie season in 2023 was to show the more experienced drivers on the grid that he was no pushover.

After a cautious start to the season, Piastri certainly achieved that aim, soon ensuring that he was regularly scoring points in the second half of the year and winning the Qatar sprint race and coming second in the next day's Grand Prix.

As a result he finished in ninth place in the final drivers championship with 83 points in total, far ahead of the other rookies on the grid although someway behind his team mate Lando Norris.

It's certainly confirmed the 22-year-old Australian as a rising star of the future, and he's expected to figure prominently in this year's championship battle and to battle much more experienced drivers for points and podiums.

Previously champion in both Formula 2 and Formula 3, Piastri said the most important outcome of his rookie season was to show that he wasn't going to be a pushover in races and that his opponents shouldn't underestimate him.

“At the beginning of the season or beginning of your career, it's always important to show it to people that you're not a pushover," he told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview. "It's not a nice thing to have.”

"There's an element of respect and I guess racing people how you want to be raced in some ways. I guess I always try and race people hard, but fair.

“I don't think I'm overly harsh or aggressive or anything like that,” he added. “In my junior career, a big element of my championships was from staying out of trouble and being consistent."

Logan Sargeant (USA) Williams Racing FW45 and Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren MCL60. 24.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Practice Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

Keeping his nose clean has certainly been a feature of his first campaign in F1. Over the course of the 22-race season, Piastri did not incur a single FIA superlicence penalty point all year.

"There's definitely a good saying in that it's sometimes more important to finish the race and be wrong in a situation, than be right about something and be out of the race.

“That's kind of always an element I've tried to keep, but I just tried to race hard but fair.”

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter