The hidden positives Oscar Piastri took from disastrous Brazilian Grand Prix

Thomas Maher
Oscar Piastri's Brazilian Grand Prix was ruined after picking up rear wing damage at the start of the race.

Oscar Piastri's Brazilian Grand Prix was ruined after picking up rear wing damage at the start of the race.

Oscar Piastri’s race at Interlagos was undone at Turn 1 as he was caught up in the melee of crashing cars.

The Australian’s race at Interlagos fell apart within seconds of the start as he picked up rear wing damage from the crash involving Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen. With the red flag timing not working out in order to keep himself and compatriot Daniel Ricciardo on the lead lap, Piastri was doomed to an afternoon plodding around a lap behind.

Finishing in 14th at the chequered flag after a dull afternoon driving around, Piastri was nonetheless quite happy to have been able to get some valuable experience driving around the tricky Interlagos circuit.

Oscar Piastri details his involvement in Turn 1 accident

Having qualified in 10th place for Sunday’s race, Piastri was tagged from behind by the out of control Haas of Kevin Magnussen as the Dane was taken out in a collision between himself and Williams’ Alex Albon.

The subsequent rear wing damage resulted in McLaren bringing him into the pits to retire, only for the race to be red-flagged seconds later. Getting the car repaired in time for the restart was futile, however, due to having fallen off the lead lap due to the FIA initially choosing to cover the incident under yellow flags.

“I hit the brakes for Turn 1, then I looked in the mirror, and I saw someone’s tyre flying through the air and I thought that didn’t look very good,” Piastri explained to media afterward.

“Sure enough, I 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 started on Friday, unfortunately.

“After that, I just tried to stay on the lead lap and, apart from that, learn as much as I could because it’s not been the easiest of weekends.”

But, with F1 not allowing much in the way of testing for rookie drivers like Piastri, the Australian welcome the extra 90 minutes of time behind the wheel of an F1 car as he builds experience in his maiden season in the sport.

“Thanks to the amazing efforts 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,” he said.

“So I learned a lot, just in general, but also for when I come back next year.”

The Australian also revealed that the lack of pressure in the race also meant that he was able to experiment with different lines and approaches around Interlagos in a bid to help build a better understanding of what the MCL60 was responding well to.

“After yesterday (Saturday sprint shootout and sprint), there were some things I wanted to try and improve on, and I experimented with that a lot,” Piastri said.

“Some things were successful, some not.

“But it’s very rare you get an opportunity to try things like that.

“Of course, I would have preferred the opportunity hadn’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.”

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Oscar Piastri brushes off suggestions of bad luck

A philosophical Piastri, reflecting on a strong first season in the sport, said he doesn’t place much stock in the concept of bad luck hindering his year, saying he is a firm believer is the adage of creating your own luck.

“There has been bad luck,” he said.

“But I think, at the same time, the saying ‘you make your own luck’ is very true. I think, from myself and the team, I think we didn’t execute Friday as well as we should have. That put me 10th on the grid and left me with more risks and stuff like that happening.

“So, if I was starting even where Lando started or further up the front, I wouldn’t have been in that crash. So I think 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.

“The encouraging thing has been that the pace, when I got it together, has always been good. It’s just that getting it together hasn’t been as consistent as I would like, even this weekend the pace was very strong on my side – it was just I couldn’t finish the lap.

“So I think there’s an element of trying maybe a bit hard in that aspect. Also at a circuit where you don’t get enough practice at a track I haven’t been do, that doesn’t help that.

“But yeah, if I was slow and having these weekends, I’d be more concerned but, considering it’s sort of executional things to work on, that leaves me in a more relaxed state.”

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