Australia’s Oscar Piastri hits back at England cricket team after huge Ashes controversy

Oliver Harden
McLaren driver Oscar Piastri talks to the media after qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo. May 2023.

McLaren driver Oscar Piastri talks to the media after qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo. May 2023.

McLaren driver Oscar Piastri has had his say on the cricket controversy during the second Ashes Test match, claiming England have been just as unsporting as Australia over the years.

As preparations were ramping up at the Red Bull Ring ahead of last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, one of the most controversial moments of the sporting year was unfolding at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.

After electing not to play a ball bowled by Australia’s Cameron Green, England batsman Jonny Bairstow walked out of his batting area believing the ball to be dead.

Oscar Piastri says England are just as bad as Australia

Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey then threw the ball to break an unknowing Bairstow’s stumps to get him out. Although Carey’s action was technically legal according to the laws of the game, it attracted accusations of poor sportsmanship.

The Australian team – who went on to win the game and now lead 2-0 in the five-match competition – were later seen in an angry altercation with members of the crowd, with captain Pat Cummins unmoved in defending Carey’s conduct.

Melbourne-born Piastri is currently the only Australian driver on the F1 grid having replaced Daniel Ricciardo, of Perth, at McLaren for the 2023 season.

And the 22-year-old pointed to another controversial Ashes moment from 2013, when England’s Stuart Broad – a vocal critic of Australia’s behaviour at Lord’s – refused to walk off the field despite being caught out, as evidence that England are no angels either.

He told Sky Sports: “It’s obviously a controversial moment. I think in the laws of the game, the umpires decided it was out.

“There’s always moments like that for and against. I remember England and Broad in particular had their fair share of spirit of cricket moments too.

“It’s always a controversial topic for every team. But yeah, the umpires decided it was out. So we’ll move on to the next game and see what happens.”

Piastri’s comments may not go down well among the locals ahead of this weekend’s British GP, with the McLaren driver joking that he may require extra protection at Silverstone.

“I might have to get a few more security guards!” he said. “But that should be all good. I’m with a British team so hopefully there’s at least a couple of people supporting me there.”

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Piastri will receive the upgrades with which McLaren shone in Austria this weekend, with Lando Norris’s fourth place the team’s best result since Singapore 2022.

After a challenging start to the season, Piastri was encouraged by the team’s performance but has warned that McLaren were potentially slightly flattered by the struggles of Mercedes and Aston Martin.

He explained: “We’ll have to see. I think we performed very well in Austria, on Lando’s side in particular. I think the pace, even my car with the old package, was very good over one lap.

“I think it struggled a bit in the race, like we have seen in some of the other races. So yeah, I’m hoping it’s a good step forward. We’ll have to see if we can continue that pace.

“I think obviously Mercedes and Aston had probably a weaker weekend than we expected, so we’ll have to see where we’re getting closer to that fight with those kinds of teams, but we’ll have to see if we can do consistently.”

Read next: Uncovering McLaren’s upgrades: The secrets behind the Austrian Grand Prix surge