Anyone who questioned Oscar Piastri’s potential for Formula One now has their answer.
The young Aussie delivered it with an emphatic and calculated drive to the podium in the Formula 3 curtain-raiser to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
It’s not the result that is so impressive, but the way it was achieved.
Piastri delivered his stunning third after starting a miserable 15th after one of the most chaotic qualifying sessions in recent F3 history.
His drive through the pack will be seen as a career defining event and delivered the sort of ‘just send it’ overtaking which has made Dan Ricciardo a grand prix superstar.
“Third is awesome from where it started,” says Piastri, whose effort got him back into the lead for this year’s FIA Formula 3 championship with just three races remaining in 2020.
No-one would have bet on Piastri scoring a podium after his awful qualifying, firstly when his best lap was only good enough for 12th and then when Stewards handed him a with a three-position penalty for impeding his rivals.
At the same time, his PREMA Racing team mate – and championship leader – Logan Sargeant was a little better with 10th on the grid.
But everything got up-ended in the race, including Sargeant who failed to score when he was taken out of the action.
Piastri, meantime, had his head down and his eyes forward.
He had proven a point against Sargeant with a pass on Lap 6, then concentrated on moving up. Fellow Aussie Alex Pironi was one of his victims as he improved to fifth, before advancing to the podium places after a late incident brought out the Safety Car.
“Third from 15th on the grid, it was a very good race. I think I made a lot of good moves but I didn’t rush any. They were all calculated, picked the right moment,” says Piastri.
“The late Safety Car helps us quite a bit.”
Despite the starring drive, Piastri is already planning to consolidate his Monza weekend from eighth on the grid.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Seven spots ahead of today, let’s see what we can do,” he says.
The first race at Monza was a great one for PREMA Racing, as Erik Vesti won the race to clinch the teams’ championship in the FIA F3 series.
But there are still three races to run, with the final pair at Mugello in Italy next weekend.