Oscar Piastri's sad admission as Daniel Ricciardo addresses ugly claims at Australian GP

Aussie F1 star Oscar Piastri believes a podium finish is out of reach at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix.

Aussie Formula One star Oscar Piastri believes a podium finish at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix is out of reach but is confident that he can improve on last year's eighth. The McLaren driver returns to his hometown race for a second time in 2024 and while says he feels better equipped ahead of this year's trip to Albert Park, he believes Red Bull and Ferrari are well ahead of the pack.

"I think we were a step closer to being close to Ferrari in Saudi but we still don't quite have enough at the moment," he said. "I think probably the fight is with Mercedes at the moment for us.

Pictured left Oscar Piastri and right Daniel Ricciardo
Aussie F1 star Oscar Piastri believes a podium finish is out of reach at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix. Image: Getty

"Hopefully we can start challenging a bit more later in the year. As much as I don't want to put people's hopes down at home, any more than sort of P5 is going to require some good fortune."

Aussies have historically struggled at Albert Park, with the likes of Australian F1 great Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo never finishing top three at home during their long racing careers. Ricciardo famously finished the 2014 race in second but was stripped of a podium place after being disqualified.

He is back on the grid for this weekend's event with Red Bull after missing last year's race. The Aussie has historically had some bad luck at his home event, having been forced to retire three times and finishing just out of a podium place in fourth on two other occasions in the 10 years since his infamous disqualification. And the Red Bull driver is hoping this weekend he can get a positive result.

"We found some inconsistencies across cars," Ricciardo said. "Ahead of this weekend, I think everything's been addressed. I was back in the sim as well after Saudi before heading home. I feel like we've done everything we can to come here with our best shot."

Daniel Ricciardo dismisses claims his spot at Red Bull is under threat

The Aussie started last year as a reserve driver for Red Bull but was promoted to a full-time driver with their junior team Visa Cash App RB for the 2024 season. Ahead of the new campaign, there were rumours that Ricciardo could be promoted even further to be Max Verstappen's No.2 driver, however, Sergio Perez held onto his seat.

But now after some early season struggles the Aussie's place in the junior team has come into question. Red Bull advisor Helmut Marco ahead of the Australian GP said Ricciardo will have to "come up with something soon" if he is to hold onto his seat after two poor performances in the opening two races of the year.

Daniel Ricciardo, left, of Australia driver of RB, the team previously known as AlphaTauri and McLaren driver Oscar Piastri of Australia react during a press conference ahead of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)
Aussies Daniel Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri will be in action at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"There is a lot at stake this season for both Yuki (Tsunoda) and Daniel," Marko said. "Yuki’s qualifying was very good and Ricciardo will have to come up with something soon."

But Ricciardo says he belongs in the F1 and is doing all he can to continue to improve. "The most important part of our job is the driving but a big part of it is talking (to the media)," he told reporters on Thursday. "When things go well, everyone is talking positively and when they don’t, they don’t talk so positively.


"I know that I came back here because I believe I can do it, I believe I belong here. When people ask ‘Do you have a point to prove’ or ‘Keep people happy’… I am here for myself because I know I can still do it. I do want to make people proud but if someone says something, I know it already because I have told myself that, and I know what is expected."

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