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Piastri: F1 2023 a bigger rollercoaster than expected

Oscar Piastri admitted his rookie Formula 1 season with McLaren was "a bigger rollercoaster" than he had anticipated.

McLaren team photo Oscar Piastri, McLaren

McLaren team photo Oscar Piastri, McLaren

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

After a difficult start with a car that wasn’t competitive, he took advantage of the team’s mid-season upgrades to make a strong impression in the second half of the year.

He twice made the podium in grands prix, finishing runner-up in Qatar and third in Japan, while also logging a memorable victory in the sprint event at the former.

He ended the year in a respectable ninth place in the F1 world championship, albeit outscored by team-mate Lando Norris by 205 points to 97.

"It's definitely been a bigger rollercoaster than I expected," Piastri 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, 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 it's nice to be having these conversations again, going through these scenarios.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, first position, celebrates with his team after winning the sprint race

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, first position, celebrates with his team after winning the sprint race

"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 thanked the team for giving him a more competitive car while stressing he had also made the most of it.

"It's definitely been a great season," he said when asked by Autosport if he was proud of what he’d achieved.

"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.

"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 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."

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