Brilliant Piastri takes F2 title in Abu Dhabi

Oscar Piastri became the first driver to follow up a victory in the FIA Formula 3 championship with a Formula 2 title in successive rookie seasons after finishing third in the opening Abu Dhabi Sprint race.

The Australian driver came into the final race weekend with an almost insurmountable 51.5 point lead over Prema teammate Robert Shwartzman and he rammed home his advantage by securing a fifth successive pole position on Friday.

It still left him with plenty to do starting tenth on the opening reverse grid. But with confidence flowing through his veins, Piastri charged up to sixth behind Shwartzman on the opening lap before taking Dan Ticktum and Liam Lawson to move up to fourth.

His next target was teammate Shwartzman, and with just four laps remaining Piastri charged past the Russian to take third and a spot on the podium behind Jehan Daruvala and Felipe Drugovich.

“Just super happy, what a race to clinch it on,” said the new champion afterward. “I wanted to get on the podium to do some good celebrating and we pulled it off so yes, just so happy. It was a lot less stressful than last year so very happy about that. Very, very, very happy.

“It’s been an awesome three years to round out my junior career. Hopefully I’ll be champion of sitting on the couch next year because that’s about all I’ll be driving. Really happy I could get the third one in a row. I don’t think anyone else has got that on their CV so very happy and very proud of what I’ve done.”

Piastri’s rookie F2 season success means that he achieves the very rare feat of winning three successive junior series titles, following up his victory in the 2019 Formula Renault and the FIA Formula 3 title last year. But he doesn’t want to stop there before moving on to become Alpine’s test and reserve F1 driver in 2022 with two races still remaining.

“Try and win them all, why not! I’ve got nothing to lose now so try and add a couple more trophies to the cabinet. We’ll go out and try and win it. We went from tenth to third today so maybe we can go from eighth to first tonight and then hopefully win the last feature race tomorrow.”

True to his word, that’s exactly what Piastri did in his final F2 appearance on Sunday, a pole to flag victory from Guanyu Zhou and Felipe Drugovich securing his fourth successive feature race win and sixth victory of the season. A brilliant way to sign off.

 

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Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.

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