Oscar Piastri has praised Daniel Ricciardo for how the latter handled the news that Piastri would replace him at McLaren in 2023. It was confirmed ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix in August that Ricciardo and the team had mutually agreed to terminate his contract early, meaning that he will leave the squad at the end of the 2022 season. McLaren were rumoured to have signed Alpine junior Piastri to replace his fellow Australian, but remained tight-lipped as the case went through the FIA's Contract Recognition Board. The CRB later ruled that the outfit had a legally binding deal with Piastri, and as such the youngster will partner Lando Norris in 2023. When his seat at McLaren was confirmed, Piastri admits that his first feeling was one of a weight being lifted off his shoulders. "I think the the first [emotion] was obviously relief," the 21-year-old told the In The Fast Lane podcast. "It was obviously a pretty stressful time with the CRB hearing. The first [emotion] was relief and obviously happiness. This is something I've been working towards since I started racing. "So to finally know what my future holds, firstly, and secondly that it would be in F1, that was a relief and a very, very happy moment."
Piastri hopeful of success with McLaren
Piastri is proud to have secured his Formula 1 debut with McLaren, and hopes to be able to form a successful partnership with the famous team. "It was exciting. Obviously, I think a lot of McLaren's history," the Australian explained. "Quite a lot of their winning and their championships was either when I was very young or wasn't born at all. That's something I want to, hopefully, with the rest of the team, try and get back to those ways and get back further towards the front. "It's obviously something that I do have at the back of my mind, that I'm joining a very prestigious team with a lot of success and a great pedigree, so that's exciting. "Ultimately, they offered me a fantastic opportunity to be on the F1 grid. I think the team is very motivated to try and get back towards the front, as am I. "I don't want to be in F1 to make up the numbers, I want to do as well as I can and hopefully win a few things along the way. "I think for me, that's the biggest thing I'm looking forward to; firstly, getting on the grid, but also trying to write a new chapter of success for myself and also for the team."
Why Ricciardo's reaction was a "nice moment" for Piastri
While Australia will have a new F1 driver on the grid in 2023, there remains a possibility that Ricciardo may not find another full-time race seat. Despite this, Piastri says that Ricciardo was nothing but gracious when he reached out to the new McLaren driver following the confirmation that he would drive alongside Norris next year. "That was a really great thing, for Daniel to get in touch," Piastri said. "I was planning on getting in touch myself, but with the timing of things, he was obviously at a race and, quite frankly, I didn't actually know if he wanted to hear from me. "I was trying to think of what to say, but he beat me to it. [Ricciardo is] a true professional. My respect for him was already extremely high, and it's only gotten higher in the way he's responded. "With him getting in touch like that, that was great for me personally. Knowing that there [were] no hard feelings, that really helped me quite a lot, so that was a nice moment. "It is a bit of a sliding doors moment, but I think if I can get close to emulating [the] success he's had on track, and also the character he is off the track, then I think I'll be doing a reasonable job."