Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Piastri surprised “really small” first-lap contact damaged his car

2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Oscar Piastri said it was “a shame” his Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was ruined by damage he incurred on the first lap of the race.

The McLaren driver reached Q3 in only his second start for the team, but was forced to pit at the end of lap one with front wing damage after contact at the first corner.

“I think it was really just one of those lap one, turn one incidents,” said Piastri. “The contact felt really small so I was honestly quite surprised to have damage.”

He recovered to finish 15th after running the remaining 49 laps of the race without a second pit stop.

“The rest of the race I think was reasonable,” he said. “Some good experience with learning how to use the battery at the end with the overtakes and stuff like that. Nice to see the end as well, but it’s a shame.

Despite starting inside the top 10, Piastri said he’s “not 100% sure” he would have been able to score points without his first-lap damage.

“I’m not sure how great our pace was anyways,” said the McLaren driver. “I think doing 49 laps on the hards is never going to be great for your race pace but we’ll have to sit down and have a look at how it was.”

Piastri’s lap one damage proved a double blow for McLaren as Lando Norris, hit the debris from the team’s other car on lap two and also had to pit for a new front wing.

Team principal Andrea Stella said the team had “high hopes of scoring points” before the race began. “We’re racers, we take these things on the chin, and we will be even more determined to succeed when we get to Australia.”

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    3 comments on “Piastri surprised “really small” first-lap contact damaged his car”

    1. He certainly could’ve finished within the lower points-positions without the early pit stop for front wing damage.
      He & Mclaren will eventually leave the zero-point group.

    2. The fact that he overtook Lando who was on fresher Mediums at the end of the race on 49 lap old hard tyres bodes well,
      the kids a star and is already on Norris’ pace 2 races in.
      All the Danny Ric Fanboys and netflix fans of formula 1 who have no idea on how the sport works will state that Riccardo would have had the same result here. But in reality he would not have dragged that car into Q3 and would have been 10 seconds behind Norris at the end of the race…..

    3. I think Oscar got more performance out of the car than Lando. Once they let him pass, Piastruion old and harder rubber, swiftly moved past Logan Sargeant. It’s very good to see the rookie do well and challenge the senior. The battle could get spicy in the months to come even if it’s for a position in the bottom 5.

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