Ricciardo didn't expect Piastri to dominate F2 like he did
McLaren Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo says he didn't expect Oscar Piastri to dominate F2 the way he did but is "very happy" to see the next generation of Australian talent come through the ranks.
Piastri took the junior formula ladder by storm by winning championships in three consecutive seasons in Formula Renault Eurocup, FIA Formula 3 and FIA Formula 2.
With powerhouse Prema, Piastri dominated F2, taking the title with a 60.5-point gap to runner-up Robert Shwartzman.
It didn't yield the 20-year-old from Melbourne an F1 seat for next year, but the Alpine Academy member will step up to be the Enstone team's reserve driver for the 2022 season with a view to a race seat the following year.
McLaren driver Ricciardo watched the progress of fellow Australian Piastri closely and said he was impressed with how he dominated the championship.
"Yeah, wild. He didn't just win, he dominated," Ricciardo said. "I don't think anyone really expected him to. Fighting for a title is one thing but winning comfortably was huge.
"I think people knew obviously he was talented. I knew he was talented, but I don't think anyone expected him to dominate the championship like he did."
Jack Doohan, Van Amersfoort Racing
Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd
Ricciardo believes things are on the up for young Australians, with Jack Doohan taking second in F3 before scoring points on his first two F2 weekends in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, where the son of MotoGP legend Mick Doohan bagged a front row start alongside Piastri.
"There's an Aussie front row lockout with [Piastri] and Jack so yeah, it's looking good for young up and coming Aussies. Very, very happy to see that."
Earlier this month it was announced Doohan would move up to F2 full-time in 2022, partnering Marino Sato at the Virtuosi outfit.
Piastri is not expected to do a whole lot of racing in 2022 as he focuses on his Alpine F1 reserve driver role, which involves travel to grand prix weekends and an extensive testing programme with the 2021 car.
"I will still be doing a decent amount of driving - it won't be racing," he said.
"I want to keep my focus on F1 and make sure my face is in the paddock so people don't forget about me to be honest.
"I think driving an F1 car, there is no substitute for that, you can't go racing in something else expecting it to prepare you for F1."
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