Stroll crash cost Piastri in Singapore qualifying

McLaren believes Oscar Piastri could have progress to Q3 were it not for Lance Stroll crashing. Image: XPB Images

McLaren believes Oscar Piastri could have progressed to Q3 were it not for Lance Stroll crashing. Image: XPB Images

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella believes Oscar Piastri was capable of progressing to Qualifying 3 in Singapore were it not for Lance Stroll crashing out of the session.

The Aston Martin driver speared off the road in the final moments of Qualifying 1 as he completed his final flying lap.

With Piastri, who was in the danger zone at the time, running behind the Stroll on track, it ended the McLaren driver’s session.

But while he’ll line up 17th for Sunday night’s race in Marina Bay, Stella suggests his performance was on par with team-mate Lando Norris.

“For me, yeah… I mean, would have been able to get through if it wasn’t for that,” Piastri said of Stroll’s crash.

“A bit of a shame.

“Obviously these things are going to happen – wish it had happened about 15 seconds later.”

Piastri was the second car on the scene, Norris having negotiated the wreckage before Stroll had stopped spinning after bouncing off the wall.

McLaren arrived in Singapore with an upgrade package fitted to Norris’ car, designed to improve slow speed handling of the MCL60.

That will find its way onto Piastri’s car for the Japanese Grand Prix, but even allowed for that difference, team principal Stella suggested the Australian would have been on course for a Qualifying 3 performance if not for Stroll’s crash.

After a slow start, the Melburnian built into the weekend as he has done throughout his rookie season.

He ended Free Practice 3 seventh fastest after finishing 19th and then 15th in Friday’s two sessions.

“We saw that in FP3 he was already quite competitive, he was P7 or thereabouts, with the old package,” Stella explained.

“It means, like, it was on par with Lando.

“We were looking for another McLaren in Q3 today, in fairness.”

Piastri missed out on the upgrades as McLaren had only one set available, and preferred to allow its rookie driver a less pressured build up to one of the most difficult circuits on the calendar.

“Even Oscar kind of understood that that’s the right thing,” Stella noted.

“Let me just focus on my driving, let’s to the right thing. Lando has driven here in Singapore; it’s much easier to pick up [package differences] when you have this kind of experience.”

Join the discussion below in the comments section

Please note: reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]