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F1 legend names key moment for young star

F1 legend names key moment for young star

F1 legend names key moment for young star

F1 legend names key moment for young star

Mark Webber has hailed Oscar Piastri's sprint race victory in Qatar last year as a sign of what the young Australian can do in the future..

Piastri won Formula 1's Rookie of the Year award for his fantastic second half of the 2023 season, shooting up the grid after McLaren brought a set of upgrades for him at Silverstone - one race later than team-mate Lando Norris.

The 22-year-old became the first driver since Lewis Hamilton in 2007 to claim more than one podium in his first season in the sport, and was even one of just two non-Red Bull drivers that managed to take a race win away from the dominant world champions in 2023.

That victory came during the sprint race in Qatar, where Piastri started the race from pole and managed to fend off Max Verstappen in the closing stages to take the win.

Piastri then backed that up with another strong performance the following day, when he claimed second place behind Verstappen in the main race, keeping his cool in sweltering temperatures.

Oscar Piastri managed to claim second in the main race at the Qatar Grand Prix
McLaren enjoyed a brilliant season in 2023
Oscar Piastri shared a fantastic partnership with young Brit Lando Norris in 2023

Piastri ahead of schedule

Now, Piastri's manager Webber has revealed quite how impressed the McLaren team were with the 22-year-old's performance under pressure from the three-time world champion in the sprint race.

“It was fascinating to be on the radio listening,” Webber told Autosport.

“He was like, ‘just let me know when Max clears George [Russell],’ and then that happened. And then just the way he got everything lined up ready if Max did arrive, the McLaren guys were like, ‘okay, wow, that was third, fourth year stuff, maybe?’

“That's the stuff that we like about Oscar. There are still gaps, there have to be gaps. It's obvious. But ultimately over the next two or three years, of course, we're going to start just slowly closing those gaps down.“

READ MORE: McLaren driver praise questioned by F1 rival

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