Austraila’s Oscar Piastri has sensationally announced himself as a genuine title contender following his debut FIA Formula 2 weekend for the Prema Racing team.
The Melbourne-born 19-year-old captured a thrilling first win in Bahrain on Saturday, while he was in the hunt for the chequered flag again on Sunday before an accident ended his chances.
Piastri, who claimed fifth place in Saturday’s opening sprint race, went to the top step of the podium in the following sprint race.
Starting from sixth on the grid, Piastri prevailed in a thrilling last-lap battle with fellow Alpine Academy drivers Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou.
“It’s been the craziest win I had in my life,” Piastri said.
“In the beginning, we were struggling with the hard tyres and honestly, I was also not driving good enough as I’m still learning the changes in grip.
“Then we got the pit stop and I have to credit Prema for that decision. At the end with the soft tyres, I was able to pull some good moves and here we are!”
Sunday’s feature race was a thrilling encounter, with Piastri climbing from seventh on the grid to P1 on the back of some brilliant overtaking moves.
But the Aussie was unable to hold on to the lead, his race later coming to an end when a move from Dan Ticktum forced him into the gravel trap and out of contention.
“Tough race in the end,” Piastri added. “Until the contact with Ticktum, it had been an awesome race, with mega pace on the softs.
“Even with the hards, we were sticking in there.
“I could see that the two drivers in front were starting to fall back towards me, and at the same time, the people behind were catching up.
“I was trying to stay in third to try and fight for the win at the end, but just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Piastri, who won the 2020 FIA Formula 3 World Championship in his rookie year, is fourth in the 2021 F2 standings with 21 points.