McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo is delighted by the young Australian talent that is currently coming up towards Formula 1, saying that the outlook is “looking good” for Australia in the sport.
20-year-old Oscar Piastri took six wins and 11 podiums on his way to Formula 2 championship success in 2021, winning the title by 60.5 points over Robert Shwartzman, with the Russian also departing the series ahead of 2022.
Ricciardo was left extremely impressed by Piastri’s performance and is stunned at the apparent ease at which his compatriot claimed the championship.
“[It was] wild, he didn’t just win, he dominated. I don’t think anyone really expected him to…fighting for a title is one thing, but winning comfortably was huge,” Ricciardo said.
Ricciardo affirmed that he was already fully aware of Piastri’s potential and his ability, but still had no idea that he possessed the ability to crush his opposition in the way he did.
“I think people knew, obviously, he was talented. I knew he was talented but I don’t think anyone expected him to dominate the championship like he did.”
32-year-old Ricciardo was also very proud of the all-Australian front-row of Piastri and Jack Doohan in the final F2 qualifying session of the season in Abu Dhabi, seeing it as an extremely positive step for Australian interest in F1.
“There was an Aussie front-row lockout with him and Jack so it’s looking good for young up-and-coming Aussies. I’m very happy to see that,” said Ricciardo.
Doohan achieved four race wins with Trident in Formula 3 in the early part of 2021, before contesting six F2 races with MP Motorsport. Doohan will continue with the team in F2 next season.
Piastri meanwhile has been left without a seat for the 2022 season, after the final F1 seat was taken by fellow F2 graduate Guanyu Zhou. The Chinese driver will race with Alfa Romeo in 2022, while Piastri will have to settle for a test and reserve position with Alpine.