#81 Oscar Piastri, (AUS) McLaren Mercedes during the Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps 27-30 July 2023 Formula 1 World championship 2023.

F1: Talented drivers like Piastri immediately fast – Berger

Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger says talented rookie drivers like Oscar Piastri do not need years in F1 before being fast.

Take for example, Mario Andretti – he put his Lotus 49 on pole at Watkins Glen in 1968 in his very first F1 race. If you are talented, you are fast pretty much out of the box, and Berger says that has not changed in today’s era.

(GMM) An impressive rookie like Oscar Piastri is breaking the narrative in Formula 1, according to Gerhard Berger.

With the young Australian on the podium in Qatar alongside McLaren teammate Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, Italian Corriere dello Sport newspaper said it was “the podium of the future”.

Editor’s Note: Oscar Piastri is Italian, but an Australian citizen. His great-great-grandfather, Giovanni Piastri, migrated to Australia from Tuscany, Italy at the turn of the 20th century.

Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren, Third placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren and Red Bull Racing race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 08, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren, Third placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren and Red Bull Racing race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 08, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The stand-out man of the moment, however, is clearly new triple world champion Max Verstappen.

“It’s fascinating and sensational how this guy finishes so many races at the front – without the slightest mistake,” Austrian Berger enthused to Servus TV.

“He is also just an incredibly likeable guy. I have seen very few drivers like him – always giving an answer, always patient and kind. Max is a good guy through and through.”

2023 F1 World Drivers Champion Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates with Kelly Piquet after the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 07, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
2023 F1 World Drivers Champion Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates with Kelly Piquet after the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Qatar at Lusail International Circuit on October 07, 2023 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

However, Berger says an impressive new generation is now breaking through – and one of them is in his very first season on the grid and just 22.

“It used to be said all the time that you need to drive in Formula 1 for one, two or three years to get used to everything,” said the Austrian.

“Sorry, but that’s just bullsh*it!” Berger exclaimed. “Just get in and drive. Max Verstappen was immediately quick, Lando Norris was immediately quick, and now it’s Piastri.

“These are outstanding talents.”

Berger also sees a fascinating situation unfolding at Mercedes, with the much younger George Russell pushing for supremacy with Lewis Hamilton – culminating in their first-corner crash last Sunday.

“I was surprised that certain TV stations were confused about it,” he said. “It was completely clear who was to blame.

“What I did like was that Hamilton apologized immediately. Being able to stand up after a situation like that and take responsibility is impressive.”

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