Oscar Piastri sets ‘realistic’ goal after ‘don’t quite have enough’ admission

Sam Cooper
Oscar Piastri

Oscar Piastri was born just 15 minutes from the Melbourne track.

Oscar Piastri has admitted McLaren may still be some way off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull as he prepares for his home grand prix in Australia.

Of all the current F1 drivers, it is perhaps only Charles Leclerc whose home race is closer with Piastri born 15 minutes away from the Melbourne circuit but a win may not be in the offering this weekend.

Oscar Piastri doubtful of Australian GP chances

No Australian has ever won their home grand prix but asked whether that could be a possibility this weekend, Piastri conceded it may be a step too far.

“I think being realistic, yes, being in the fight for the third-quickest team is probably where we’re at at the moment,” he said. “I think we were a step closer to being close to Ferrari, at least anyway in Saudi, but we’re still… We don’t quite have enough at the moment.

“So I think probably the fight is with Mercedes at the moment for us.

“Hopefully we can start challenging a bit more later in the year, but for now, I think as much as I don’t want to put people’s hopes down at home, I think any more than sort of P5 is going to require some good fortune, yes.”

As for Piastri’s early memories of his home race, he recalled the 2014 edition which saw Daniel Ricciardo finish second only to have his podium taken away due to breaching the maximum allowable rate at which fuel may flow into the engine.

“I remember watching the race on TV,” Piastri said. “When I saw he got disqualified… ‘ah, he finished second, it’s all right’. So I kind of went through, on a much, much lower scale, the same kind of thing.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Five big Australian Grand Prix questions: FIA, Red Bull and a resurgent Lewis Hamilton?

Lewis Hamilton praises ‘brave’ Susie Wolff as criminal case against FIA launched

“I saw an Aussie on the podium and that’s all I remember from that day. So pretty wild to be racing around the same track 10 years later with the same guy I was watching on TV. It’s pretty cool. So hopefully we can both have a good weekend and make the home crowd proud.”

As for when he actually attended the race for the first time, that came the next year with an unusual job.

“I was a grid kid holding Dany Kvyat’s flag, and he broke down on the formation lap,” Piastri revealed. “So I was his good luck charm for that weekend.

“But that was the first F1 race I saw live, and I think the only F1 race I saw live before I went into F3 and saw it from the support paddock. That was a very special weekend as well.”

Read next: Max Verstappen to Mercedes ‘pretty close to a done deal’, claims ex-F1 driver