‘Oscar Piastri and his manager Mark Webber will be concerned about that’

Michelle Foster
Oscar Piastri leads Lando Norris. Hungary July 2023

Oscar Piastri leads his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris. Hungary July 2023

Losing out in McLaren’s strategy as the undercut gave Lando Norris the advantage, former F1 driver Martin Brundle can’t see Oscar Piastri or his manager Mark Webber being happy about that.

Lining up fourth and third on the grid with Norris ahead, Piastri made a flying start to swoop past his team-mate and follow Max Verstappen up the inside of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton to run second.

Maintaining a small gap over Norris, who had Hamilton behind him, McLaren made the call to pit the Briton first with the undercut resulting in Piastri coming out of the pits after his stop only metres ahead of his team-mate.

Team first, Andrea Stella tells Oscar Piastri

Norris, with his tyres rubbered in, took mere seconds to pass the Australian, a move that set him up for the second place with Piastri later losing ground to Sergio Perez and also Hamilton.

Former F1 driver turned pundit Brundle weighed in on that, saying: “Piastri and his manager Mark Webber will be concerned about that.

“He was running front (for) McLaren and got the second pit stop. So the undercut there has moved them around. Maybe that’s what McLaren wanted.”

His fellow pundit Nico Rosberg, declaring “that was not fair”, grilled McLaren CEO Zak Brown over McLaren’s strategy before team boss Andrea Stella was also called on to defend it.

He explained to the media that McLaren made the call to pit Norris first because he was under threat from Hamilton.

“In terms of the undercut that we had at the first stop, you just go really with the sequence that is natural, because you cover with the car that is more at risk,” he said, “and then you cover with the other car.

“Lando’s out-lap was just super, super quick, which meant Oscar lost the position.

“To be honest, our approach to these situations is to think about the team first. We think as a team, and then we deal with the internal situation.”

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As for Piastri, he was pragmatic about the situation especially as he finished the grand prix 30 seconds down on his team-mate.

“It wasn’t ideal to come out behind Lando but when you finish 30 seconds behind him, it clearly didn’t make much difference. I think it was a lot of tyre management,” he said. “Some things to review on tyre management but overall a good day for the team.”

Piastri though, all but warned Norris there will come a time when he’s on top of his issues and then he’ll give his team-mate more of a fight.

“I think there are bigger things I need to focus on first, of course, that probably wasn’t ideal, but I need to put myself first, I need to put myself in a position where I can fight to stay with him so we’re looking at what I can do better next time. Obviously, that will make my life easier,” he said.

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