Oscar Piastri has revealed that he experienced a “welcome to Formula 1” moment at the first race of his career in Bahrain earlier this year.
Piastri was signed by McLaren for the 2023 campaign to replace Daniel Ricciardo, who struggled to get up to speed during his two years with the Woking-based squad.
With his 2022 season on the sidelines overshadowed by a contract dispute between Alpine and McLaren, Piastri made his F1 debut at the Bahrain International Circuit in March.
However, it wasn’t a strong start for McLaren who accepted that it would start the 2023 campaign off the pace of where it hoped to be.
Piastri dropped out of qualifying in Q1 and lined up at the back of the grid for the start of the race.
Speaking about the pre-race procedures in Bahrain, Piastri said: “It all happened pretty quick in Bahrain to be honest, you know, did the driver parade and then the laps to the grid national anthem and then helmet on and jump in the car.”
But when it came to the race start, Piastri says he had a less-than-ideal situation unfold for him.
“I think someone missed their grid box in front of me, so when the lights came on, I was actually still pulling up into my grid box, which was a bit of a ‘welcome to F1’.
“But no, it was good, and nice to get the first one out of the way.”
The grand prix ended early for Piastri as he was forced into the garage early on with a mechanical issue.
He endured another difficult outing in Jeddah before scoring his first F1 points at his home race in Australia last time out.
As he continues to adjust to life as a full-time F1 driver, Piastri has pinpointed two races on the calendar this year that he is most looking forward to.
“I think, for me, Spa [Belgian Grand Prix] is my favourite track on the calendar so I’m looking forward to going back there,” he said.
“Silverstone [British Grand Prix] as well – another awesome track and obviously McLaren’s home race as well. So plenty of favourites this year.”