Oscar Piastri photographed with Daniel Ricciardo in McLaren supercar

Oscar Piastri signed for McLaren during last year’s summer break, despite being contracted to Alpine as a young driver.

Daniel Ricciardo’s spell with McLaren did not go anywhere near as well as he had planned, as the Australian was destroyed by his teammate Lando Norris across both of their seasons racing together.

After both team and driver tried everything the possibly could to make the relationship work, McLaren took the difficult decision to part ways with Ricciardo a year earlier than planned, replacing the 33-year-old with his younger countryman Oscar Piastri.

A lot was made of the replacement, as Piastri had reportedly signed the contract in secret around the time of the British Grand Prix, which was weeks before Ricciardo himself was informed that his contract would be terminated at the end of 2022.

Piastri has now been spotted back home in Australia, driving a McLaren supercar around the streets of Melbourne, however the most interesting thing about the photo is the 21-year-old’s passenger, who appears to be Daniel Ricciardo.

READ: Otmar Szafnauer makes surprising comment about Esteban Ocon’s aggression

With both drivers being Australian, it would make sense that the pair have returned home for the winter break, however seeing the two drivers together so soon after the rookie replaced the veteran shows how much of a gentleman Ricciardo is.

Ricciardo went out of his way to contact Piastri and his agent Mark Webber after the announcement was made at the Dutch Grand Prix, a gesture which the 21-year-old was blown away by.

“That was a really great thing for Daniel to get in touch,” Piastri told the In the Fast Lane podcast.

“I was planning on getting in touch myself, but I think with the timing of things, he was obviously at a race and, quite frankly, I didn’t actually know if he wanted to hear from me. I was trying to think of what to say but he beat me to it.”

Article continues below

Ricciardo himself has spoken to the media about McLaren’s controversial replacement, claiming that Piastri himself has done nothing wrong in the situation, hence the pair’s health relationship.

“It was just how the chips fell. He was in the situation, but it’s not like he created the situation,” he said.

READ: ‘It’s mega’: New Ferrari boss makes FIA demand over Red Bull ‘cheating’

“I get how people were like, ‘Oh, you know, doing that to another Aussie!’, and blah, blah, blah, but I certainly didn’t view it like that or take it as it seemed from the outside. We were all just trying to do the best we could.”

Piastri was forced to wait a year for his chance in Formula 1, having won the F2 championship in 2021 without being offered a race seat in F1 for the following season.

While McLaren understand that it may take some time for Piastri to get back up to speed, CEO Zak Brown has claimed that he expects Piastri to push Lando Norris in the near future.