MELBOURNE, Australia -- Oscar Piastri was left beaming from ear to ear after finishing eighth in his maiden Australian Grand Prix and recording the first points of his fledgling Formula One career.
The hometown hero benefitted from a slew of accidents throughout the chaotic event at Albert Park, which was red-flagged a record three times and eventually won by reigning champion Max Verstappen.
"It was a crazy race," said Piastri after returning to the paddock. "We kept ourselves out of trouble and ended up in the points. It was great. A good day for us."
Piastri, who started the race in 16th position after narrowly missing out on advancing to Q2, gained three places on the opening lap, one of those courtesy of Charles Leclerc's Ferrari retirement. He again made up a spot when Alexander Albon crashed his Williams on lap nine, bringing out the first red flag of the grand prix.
In the second phase of the race, Piastri worked his way up to a lonely 11th place before the second red flag was waved with four laps remaining to give marshals a chance to clean up debris and a stray tyre from Kevin Magnussen's collision with the barriers on the outside of Turn 2.
Further carnage at the restart saw Alpine pair Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly both retire from the race and Piastri promoted to ninth for the third restart, where he would remain until the chequered flag.
A five-second time penalty handed to Ferrari's Carlos Sainz for causing a collision with Fernando Alonso's Aston Martin at the penultimate restart promoted Piastri another place, leaving him eighth after the post-race reshuffling. With teammate Lando Norris finishing the race in sixth, it marks the first double top eight finish for McLaren since last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
"To get this amount of points this early in the year, with the car that we've got at the moment, is a great result and obviously something we need," said Piastri. "Definitely happy to get my first points on the board, especially here at home.
"It's obviously not been a great first two races for the whole team, for largely things out of our control. Some more things out of our control went right today [and] it was nice to be on the good end of things going wrong."
The result sees Piastri match the efforts of the last two Australians to compete in their first home race, with both Mark Webber (2005) and Daniel Ricciardo (2012) achieving points-scoring finishes in their first Formula One outings in Melbourne.
Despite McLaren securing a haul of 12 points, Piastri says there's still plenty of work to be done both from the team and himself ahead of the next race in Azerbaijan.
"A positive day but definitely some learning to do," he said. "We obviously know we're quite slow on the straights at the moment, which is something we're looking to address, but even with the fourth DRS zone it's still difficult to overtake here.
"For me, some things I can work on [and] there's still some learnings to do on how to use the battery most effectively to overtake."