Trailing Verstappen an education for Piastri during Monaco GP
By Mat Coch
Monday 29th May, 2023 - 2:56am
Oscar Piastri used race leader Max Verstappen as a reference point as the weather turned during the Monaco GP.
Piastri finished an impressive 10th on debut in the principality to score points for the second time in his F1 career.
To do so, he survived a race that started in the dry before the circuit was doused by rain shortly after mid-distance.
The rain started to fall on Lap 51, with Piastri 11th having just gone a lap down to the race leader.
“Having Max right in front of me was actually quite useful in some ways,” Piastri explained.
“That was my first time on slicks on a rainy track, in an F1 car, and having Max there… I obviously knew that if there’s going to be anyone that’s probably going to be okay, it’s probably going to be him.”
Piastri stopped for intermediate rubber as the rain intensified on Lap 54 of the Monaco GP.
He emerged 10th, gaining a spot courtesy of Lando Norris pitting just before the rain began falling.
Norris stopped for a second time on Lap 54, the same lap as Piastri, before overtaking his team-mate on track on Lap 57.
The pair then closed in on Yuki Tsunoda as the Scuderia AlphaTauri struggled for pace in the slick conditions.
Norris found a way by at Sainte Devote on Lap 67, with Piastri replicating the move a lap later.
“That was nice,” the Australian said of the move.
“I thought I was going into the wall at one point when the front-right locked.
“At that point, the track was drying out a fair bit, so it still kept a bit of grip, but Yuki seemed to be struggling a lot.
“So happy I could make that move work. From there, it was just about staying out of the walls.”
That was no trivial feat, with Piastri admitting he had a few close shaves during the 78-lap encounter.
“I don’t think there were any touches, but some very, very close moments, especially when we were on the slicks,” he admitted.
“One time, I got keyed up on the radio to talk and almost put it on the wall mid-sentence!
“I won’t do that next time. But yeah, a few close calls.”
Piastri’s second points finish of the season sees him 13th in the drivers’ championship, while McLaren is a clear sixth after Esteban Ocon’s third place saw Alpine move into fifth.