Piastri surprised by early damage in Saudi Arabia
By Mat Coch
Monday 20th March, 2023 - 4:58pm
Oscar Piastri was left surprised contact with Pierre Gasly on the opening lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix resulted in damage to his McLaren.
The Australian started ninth after a strong showing in qualifying before his race came undone at Turn 2.
Forced to pit for a new front wing, Piastri tumbled to last before recovering to 15th at the chequered flag.
“I think it was really just one of those Lap 1, Turn 1 incidents,” the 21-year-old said.
“I was honestly quite surprised to have damage.
“The rest of the race was reasonable,” he added.
“Some good experience with learning how to use the battery then with overtakes and stuff like that.
“Nice to see the end as well, but it’s a shame.”
Piastri unsure of pace without damage
Piastri was left uncertain about what might have been possible had the race unfolded without incident.
Starting eighth, he was ahead of both Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, who moved quickly through the midfield and into the points.
Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, and Kevin Magnussen also scored points, the latter two of whom started behind Piastri.
“I’m not sure how great our pace was,” he said when asked if points would have been possible.
“I think doing 49 laps on the hards is never going to be great for your race pace, but we’ll have a sit-down and have a look at how it was.”
Following his opening lap stop, McLaren kept Piastri on track for the remainder of the race.
In the closing stages, the Aussie found himself in a three-way scrap with team-mate Lando Norris and Williams’ Logan Sargeant.
He found a way through on Norris on Lap 47, before taking 15th from Sargeant on the final lap.
“We kept it sensible, obviously battling for those positions there’s not much to gain,” Piastri explained.
“I think there was a call for Lando to, if I had the chance, not make it too difficult.
“In the end, it led me to have a shot at Logan, which paid off, so nice bit of teamwork at the end, really.
“Next time, hopefully, it’s a bit further up!”
Formula 1 ventures next to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix on March 30-April 2.
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