Piastri pleased to be back in 'racing environment' again despite early retirement from Bahrain F1 debut
It was a debut F1 race to forget for Oscar Piastri, after the McLaren driver retired early from last weekend’s season opener in Bahrain. However, despite the disappointment of his Sunday ending early, the Australian was at least pleased to be back racing again.
Piastri started from 18th on the grid, but a solid first stint on the soft tyre saw him get to eighth. However, on Lap 13, Piastri was heard on the radio saying: “I’ve lost the gearbox”, and was told to come into the pit lane to change the steering wheel.
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Unfortunately for Piastri, despite his and the team's best attempts to get going again, he remained stationary in his pit box, forcing McLaren to retire the car. And after the race, Piastri provided an update on the issue that caused his early retirement from the Grand Prix.
“It was an electrical issue with the car. We’re not 100% sure yet, but unfortunately it was terminal,” said the former F2 and F3 champion. “A short debut, but it was still nice to get back out there, do a first lap and be in a racing environment again.
“I think we were having a pretty reasonable race up until that point, so it’s a shame, but nice to do the laps that I did.”
McLaren had come into the weekend on the back foot after suffering from reliability issues in pre-season testing the week before, and when asked how the car had felt before he was forced to stop, Piastri responded: “Until that point, it was feeling okay.
“I think at the beginning I was struggling a little bit to stay with the DRS train, but I think a bit later in the stint we were pretty good on tyres – I think better than some of the cars around us. I think we were getting there.
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“Also, for me, just being in a racing environment, with the dirty air again, and all that stuff. It’s been a while since I’ve had to experience that.”
He added: “When I boxed… I mean, before I came into the pits, I did basically half a lap crawling around anyway. I knew it was going to be a pretty lonely race after that anyway, but it’s a shame we couldn’t get back out.”