Oscar Piastri says his focus was more defending from ‘on a mission’ Mercedes in F1 Canadian GP, as his role eventually helped Lando Norris.

What started on a sound note for McLaren and Piastri where they were chasing the front at a faster rate in F1 Canadian GP on the intermediate compound turned out to be a defence game by the end of the race against the Mercedes pair.

And Piastri indirectly played a crucial role for teammate Lando Norris to retain second against a seemingly quicker George Russell and even Lewis Hamilton. While McLaren had some focus on Max Verstappen, but the Australian quickly realised his competition.

Even for the incident between him and Russell which was deemed as a racing incident, the Australian said there was nothing more he could have done. “Pretty close until I got behind the Mercedes, and then I realised that they were on a mission,” said Piastri.

“It would have been, I think, incredibly tough to keep them behind all the way to the end – especially being sort of the first car in the firing line for them. I tried my best to stay in front, but I think just on the new tyres they were clearly a lot quicker than everybody. Little bit disappointing when we were looking for podium for quite a while, but it is still a decent haul of points.

“On a weekend where it could have gone so wrong, like it did for others, to come out with so many points as a team was a good result. To be honest, Max, I wasn’t really concerned about at that point. I felt like I was keeping with Lando and we were just kind of going together. I knew the Mercedes were going to be quick with new tyres.

“So some things to look at whether it was, I guess, necessary to focus on that, at that point – specifically that point of the race. I think Mercedes were going to come past at some point. George made a bit of a mistake at one point, obviously we had a battle with the last chicane, and I think him and Lewis had a bit of a battle too.

“Without all of that, they probably would have finished second and third anyway. As for our incident, I think it’s an incredibly tough corner to go two wide in. And, yeah, you need to be very brave to go around the outside. In the end he got past anyway. So, I don’t think it really changed the result, but hopefully it was entertaining,” summed up Piastri.

When asked about a potential late stop as Mercedes, the Australian reckoned it wasn’t enough still for a podium finish and the best was fourth for him. As for the indirect aide to Norris, both Piastri and Stella didn’t run the course for it but they were all good if it helped the team to score more points.

“If I had pitted, I would have come out in fourth,” said Piastri. “I don’t think I would have got past George probably, so maybe it would have been fourth instead of fifth. I think having track position at that point, that seemed like a good plan. The new tyres were a bigger benefit that I expected as well.

“As for DRS help from Lando, it is what I wanted, but I am not sure it would have been the best call as a team. It would have meant that the Mercedes were just closer to Lando, as once they got past me, at the end of the race, they were over a second faster per lap. At that point in the race, it would have been helpful, but I’m not sure it would have been the right decision anyway,” summed up Piastri.

Meanwhile, Stella added: “Oscar certainly did help in the fact that if Russell had not lost time when he lost the car overtaking Oscar…when the game is so marginal, every little contribution can make the difference.

“I would not even call it team orders because it is not like Oscar does it for….Oscar does it for racing but for me the most important thing is Oscar is racing now to a level where he is racing with the top guys. He is racing for podium, for victories and this is just such a strong achievement for a guy that is second time racing in Canada.”

Here’s George Russell on fighting Oscar Piastri

Here’s Christian Horner on pit error from McLaren

Here’s how F1 Canadian GP panned out

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