Why Brazil GP wasn’t pointless for Piastri despite being a lap down

Piastri was hit by a spinning Kevin Magnussen at the start and came into the pits to retire at the end of the first lap, but a red flag shown one tour later allowed McLaren the opportunity to repair his car and get him back out.

However, like fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo, this meant he was a lap down at the resumption with no chance of recovering points, with the remaining distance becoming somewhat of an unexpected test session.

“After Saturday, I had some clear things I wanted to try and improve on and I think I experimented with that a lot, some things successful, some not,” said Piastri.

“But it’s very rare, you get an opportunity like that, to try things like that. Of course, I would prefer the opportunity didn’t come up in the first place. But when it’s there, you’ve got to try and capitalise on it with the lack of testing we have.”

He added: “I just tried to stay on the lead lap, and then, apart from that, learn as much as I could. It’s not been the easiest of weekends.

“And thanks to the amazing effort from everyone to get the car back together in 20 minutes, which was no easy feat, I got an extra 70 laps that I otherwise wouldn’t have. So, I learned a lot, just in general, but also, when I come back next year.”

Piastri was somewhat of an unwitting victim of the incident involving Magnussen, Alex Albon and Nico Hulkenberg at the start.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, battles with Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, battles with Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Asked by Motorsport.com about the incident, Piastri explained: “I hit the brakes for Turn 1 and then looked in the mirror. I saw someone’s tyre flying through the air and thought that didn’t look very good. And then yeah, sure enough, got an impact after that.

“It’s a shame. Of course, there was nothing I could have done. But when you qualify in those kinds of positions, you leave yourself much more at risk to stuff like that. It all kind of starts from Friday, unfortunately.”

Piastri had qualified in 10th after being sent out late in Q3 and spinning off as the weather deteriorated. 

Conceding there had been an element of “bad luck” about his Friday qualifying, the Australian continued: “At the same time, the saying you make your own luck is very true, I think. From myself and the team, I think Friday we didn’t execute as well as we should have.

“And in some ways, that’s put me in 10th on the grid and left me more at risk to stuff like that happening. So, if I was starting even where Lando [Norris] started or further up the front, I wouldn’t have been in that crash.

“So, you’ve got to try and put yourself in the best position possible. There’s no point blaming bad luck and not reflecting on things you can improve.”

Despite the work from McLaren during the red flag period, it had not been possible to complete the full repair list, with team principal Andrea Stella revealing the damage Piastri had been forced to carry en route to a 14th-place finish.  

The McLaren team perform a pit stop on the car of Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The McLaren team perform a pit stop on the car of Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

“We had damage to the rear wing floor and rear brake duct winglets,” said the Italian. “The floor and the wing, we could repair. Unfortunately, the rear brake duct winglet we couldn’t repair.

“And this means that Oscar, while he was able to rejoin the race, he was carrying a significant lap time disadvantage.”

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He added: “Unfortunately, the last few races for Oscar have been a little scrappy. Hopefully, the last few races will be smoother. 

“And we will have more time in practice also for him to kind of consolidate speed in one lap and speed over a stint, and he can go back to strong races like he has done often this season.”

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