Piastri ‘wishes tyre compound rule didn’t exist’ after late fall to 10th

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McLaren driver Oscar Piastri says he ‘deserved more than 10th’ in the Las Vegas Grand Prix after he was forced to pit late to change tyres.

Piastri started 18th on the grid but moved up to as high as third following the second Safety Car period after staying out on his second set of hard tyres.

After running two sets of hard tyres in his opening two stints, Piastri was forced to pit for mediums to satisfy the regulation that compels drivers to run at least two different compounds during the race. He fell to 11th but passed Pierre Gasly in the closing laps to take the final point.

“The pace in the car was a good surprise,” Piastri told media including RaceFans after the race.

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“I think yesterday obviously wasn’t particularly representative of our pace, but today was probably better than we expected. So we need to understand what the difference was.

“A lot of teams seemed to be incredibly different from yesterday. Williams we thought would be quite quick today and weren’t. So a few things to look at but it almost feels like we deserved a bit more than P10.”

Many drivers took advantage of the late Safety Car to pit, while Piastri remained out to jump from ninth to third. But as he had only used the hard tyre up to that point the McLaren driver was required by the rules to pit again for a different compound, which cost him more time compared to his rivals who were able to pit under Safety Car.

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“I think the timing of the Safety Car was pretty much perfect for the guys that stayed out on mediums at the start,” Piastri said. “You look at [Esteban] Ocon – it worked perfectly for him.

“I was really wishing the rule of using two compounds didn’t exist, because I would’ve just gone to the end of the hards. I think we had the pace to hang onto P4. So that was a shame. But the pace of the car was a really good surprise.”

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Earlier in the race, Piastri was involved in a wheel-to-wheel clash with Lewis Hamilton at turn 14 at the end of the long Strip straight, which resulted in both drivers suffering punctures. Fortunately for Piastri, he was able to immediately pit for fresh hards, which limited his time loss.

“It was kind of just an awkward one,” he explained. “Neither of us had really committed to the corner that much, and then we both committed at the last minute. “I was trying to back out of it, but we just ended up meeting in the middle, so I had a puncture from that.

“I don’t think it really hurt our race that much, in all honesty. It would have been interesting to see if a one-stop could have worked from that point. But yeah, it’s always hard to know. We would have been a sitting duck, like Gasly. A lot of things for a lot of people went wrong in that race and I think I was in the same boat.”

After securing a point for 10th and the bonus point for fastest lap, Piastri says he is satisfied with his car’s performance after both he and team mate Lando Norris failed to progress beyond the first round in qualifying.

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“It’s been a difficult weekend, I think, for everyone involved,” said Piastri. “Definitely in terms of performance and pace, I was much, much happier with how the race went today.

“Of course, in terms of results, it’s not what we’d hoped for. But I think given how we looked yesterday, coming away with two points is not the end of the world. And I think the biggest positive was the pace in the car.”

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Piastri ‘wishes tyre compound rule didn’t exist’ after late fall to 10th”

  1. Dear Oscar,
    If the 2 compound rule did not exist, all of your competitors would also just run to the end as well.

    1. The timing of a FCY can privilege a particular starting compound though.

      Just like the tyre compound rule is scrapped when it rains – there’s a case to be made for scrapping it when the race is interrupted (aka reset) by the race director deciding to throw a safety car.

      These safety cars should be avoided if at all possible. It’s basically tilting the playing field.

      1. Michael, if you scrap the tyre rule once a safety car comes out, that massively disadvantages drivers who started on a hard compound. I dislike the way some drivers end up with free pit stops as a result of safety cars. Virtual Safety Car is supposedly fairer, but hardly ever used, no doubt because a full SC is better for the show.

        1. The safety car is good for the show but is also safer for the track crews that need to remove debris as the drivers are bunched together.

        2. maybe the pitstops should be closed during the SC periods. Or better yer, a time penalty of abut 10 seconds (could be specific for each circuit, depending on the time loss difference) should be served before the pitstop work could begin.

        3. Right, definitely not a perfect solution. I suppose there’s only really one way to solve this fairly and that’s to stop all the cars, and once the track is clear, let them out again one by one, sort of like in biathlon I guess, with the gaps restored. And even then it fails to account for the effects of a temperature cycle in the tyres.

          If the track is blocked such that it is necessary to create time and space for the marshals to do their work, then they can red flag the race. If the track is not blocked, then the VSC is sufficient. Better yet, local yellow flags. There is no reason to stop racing around the track for a problem in one corner.

          The events at Le Mans this year show that the safety car is almost never needed. In the first 9 hours of the race, there were 3 run under the safety car(s) because someone who is too smart for his own good had devised a scheme to ‘spice things up’ with a novel procedure. Not only was this exceedingly cumbersome and lengthy, it was also badly managed by race director Freitas and even largely pointless*. So although they never said as much, it was obvious that someone up high got in contact with Freitas and (conjecture) told him to stop messing up the race. There wasn’t a single safety car after that, even when barriers had to be fixed, and significant shunts had to be cleared up. It was all handled perfectly fine with local VSCs.

          *The move to consolidate to one safety car is the only good thing about it, as previous races had been negatively impacted by the field being artificially spread apart by multiple minutes. Everything else, like the class sorting and reshuffling, was pointless.

    2. I really don’t see any problem with drivers running to the end if they think they can make the tyres last.

      Would like to scrap these (in my opinion) rather pointless rules about tyre changes and let teams pick whichever compound they want, at any time.

  2. Would be funny if his pit was before the finish line and he could change on the last lap and run 10m

  3. oscar has shown hes more interested in qualifying pace than race pace this year, russell at mercedes is also playing the same game. both guys just need more time understanding how to work the tires better, but both consistently go backwards in races trying to outqualify their faster teammates.

    1. I don’t know how you can say that. Oscar drove brilliantly for the first part of this race until he was hit by Hamilton in a typically clumsy move. If not for Hamilton’s carelessness, Oscar likely would have finished fourth.

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