‘I didn’t know if he wanted to hear from me’ - Piastri on Ricciardo phone call

Incoming McLaren F1 driver Oscar Piastri has heaped praise on Daniel Ricciardo for being a “true professional” and reaching out to him to explain there were no hard feelings between the pair. 
Oscar Piastri (AUS), Alpine F1 Team Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne,
Oscar Piastri (AUS), Alpine F1 Team Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3,…

Ricciardo’s future has been left uncertain after McLaren won a contract battle with Alpine to secure the services of Piastri, who will replace his fellow countryman to become Lando Norris’ new teammate in F1 2023

Despite losing his seat to Piastri, Ricciardo made the effort to phone both the 2021 F2 champion and his manager Mark Webber after the summer break in a bid to clear things up and ensure there was no awkwardness. 

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Speaking to the In the Fast Lane podcast, the official podcast of his home grand prix, Piastri admitted he was initially unsure how to approach Ricciardo. 

"I was planning on getting in touch myself, but with the timing of things, he was obviously at races, quite frankly I didn't know if he wanted to hear from me,” Piastri said. 

"I was trying to think of what to say, but he beat me to it. That was a true professional, my respect for him was already extremely high and it's only got higher in the way he's responded.

"Him getting in touch like that, that was great for me personally, knowing that there were no hard feelings. That really helps me quite a lot, and it was good to get in touch.

“It was a nice moment. If I can get close to emulating the success he's had on track and the character he is off the track, I think I'll be doing a reasonable job.”

(L to R): Oscar Piastri (AUS) Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren. Formula 1 World
(L to R): Oscar Piastri (AUS) Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver and Daniel…

Piastri picks race number for F1 career 

Piastri also revealed he has chosen number 81 as his permanent race number for when he makes his F1 debut with McLaren next season. 

The 21-year-old, who first used the number when he raced in karting, explained the reasoning behind his selection. 

"So 81 was the number I had in karting," he said. "The story of how I got 81 is not particularly interesting, but I'll explain it anyway.

"Basically, when I did my first race, I had to pick a number for my first race and the kart shop I went to only had number ones in stock. It had to be a one or two-digit number and I obviously couldn't be number one for obvious reasons. So I was actually number 11, for my first couple of races.

"Then we entered, I think it was the Victorian state titles, and somebody had already entered as number 11. So I don't know what inspired me to pick 81. But I changed the first one for a number eight, and it's stuck ever since.”

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