Oscar Piastri looks to build on Japanese GP podium and continue incredible rookie season

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri has earned plenty more plaudits for his stellar rookie season after achieving his first career F1 podium at the Japanese Grand Prix. However, rather excitingly, the Australian racer believes that he has plenty of room to improve.

After qualifying on the front row, Piastri lost out to teammate Lando Norris off the line. But this did not deter the youngster, who brought home his McLaren in an incredibly impressive third place.

The podium was a high point following a succession of promising showings – with some misfortune arguably robbing Piastri of more success.

Despite claiming his first podium finish at Suzuka, Oscar Piastri felt like he had had better performances in his rookie season.

Oscar Piastri on his rookie season podium: “More to come”

“You know, I think for myself, it probably wasn’t my strongest Sunday,” said the Australian. “So, you know, from that side of things, there’s still a few things I want to work on. But no, to get the first podium, like Lando [Norris] said, on pace as well is a very exciting moment.”

The attritional battles of tyre wear are something that the McLaren driver feels he can improve upon.

“I just wasn’t quick enough at certain points of the race,” explained Piastri. “You know, these high-deg races are probably the biggest thing I need to try and work on at the moment.

“I think it’s still quite fresh for me, obviously. In all the junior racing before this, there are no races like it. So, the only way you can learn from it is by just doing the races.

“So, definitely a few things had I had this race again, that I would have done a bit different. But that’s all part of the learning. So, yeah, exciting to know that we can finish on the podium – even if I feel like there’s more to come.”

With six races left, and ever-growing confidence in his MCL60, Oscar Piastri will likely finish the season as the best rookie that F1 has seen in years.

How does Piastri compare to recent F1 debutants?

With 57 points thus far, the Aussie has registered the most points by a driver in their first year since Kevin Magnussen. Back in 2014, coincidentally with McLaren as well, Magnussen earned 55 points.

Most impressively, though, Piastri has already surpassed the rookie points totals of some of the fastest stars on the grid. For example, his 57 is more than Max Verstappen (49 in 2015) and Charles Leclerc (39 in 2018). Of course, these two were in comparatively “worse” cars then – but it is remarkable, nonetheless.

However, with six races left, Oscar Piastri will struggle to match arguably the greatest rookie season ever – Lewis Hamilton in 2007. Again, with McLaren, Hamilton won four races and scored 109 points in his first campaign. The now seven-time champ was just a single point off of 2007 champion, Kimi Raikkonen.

What’s more – Hamilton built this total when only the top eight scored points, and a win was just worth 10 points. A truly superlative rookie year which may never be beaten.

But that is not to detract from Oscar Piastri’s sensational start to life in Formula 1. If he is right about there being plenty of areas to improve, the sky may be the limit for both him and McLaren in the future.

Featured image credit: Getty