Oscar Piastri will need to produce a flawless debut race if he is to score points during Monday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Australian could only manage 18th fastest in qualifying, while his McLaren teammate Lando Norris fared better, finishing 11th.

A red flag stopping the qualifying session early compromised the Australian, but with a clean run, Piastri was off the pace.

Piastri spent last season as a reserve driver for Alpine and said after qualifying that he had plenty to learn in his first season of F1.

“Obviously it’s not what we were looking for there,” he said.

“The red flag compromised us a bit and I just didn’t nail it on the second set of tyres.

“That said, it was my first F1 qualifying and it is a long season ahead. We’ll do our homework and see what we can do”

Mark Webber was the last Australian to score championship points on debut when he drove his Minardi to fifth place at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start the season opener on pole after a terrific qualifying session.

Verstappen will be hoping to avenge the disappointment of last season’s Bahrain Grand Prix, when he failed to finish.

Last year’s difficult start for Verstappen was quickly forgotten when he went on to win a record 15 races.