Oscar Piastri was hurt by the podium miss in F1 British GP amid McLaren’s push, as Andrea Stella talk about the strategy situation.
Having had a good start in F1 British GP where he almost took on Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, McLaren’s Piastri eventually lost out on a podium finish under the safety car where Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took the opportunity to rise up the order.
This hurt Piastri a bit but he was happy to secure his best F1 result of fourth after a difficult start to his rookie campaign. He reckoned putting soft tyre could have been an option but him stopping just few laps before the safety car came out didn’t help. “It hurts to be so close to a podium,” he said to media. “We were looking so good.
“We executed everything we could, we were pulling away from the cars behind, all to be one second too far behind pretty much when the safety car came out. So it hurts a little bit, but I’m so happy that I’m disappointed with P4, as opposed to what it has been earlier in season. I could have taken softs to fight for third, I think so, but I don’t think there was any situation where we would have realistically put them on.
“When we pitted, I was starting to struggle bit on the medium, we had a decent gap behind us, we were under no pressure at all, it made sense for us to go to the hard tyres. We didn’t have a crystal ball that a safety car would come out three laps later unfortunately. I think we did everything we could.
“Mercedes with Hamilton were in the position where they could gamble to wait for a safety car and it paid off for them but from execution point of view, we did everything we could,” summed up Piastri, who also felt good about his fight with Verstappen for the brief moment that he did. He was more happy about staying with Lando Norris and the Dutchman.
“Pretty exciting,” said Piastri. “When I got off the line I was like ‘Okay, I’ve got the best start out of everyone here’, and I had to find somewhere to go – ran out of space. But I think the more exciting part was being able to hand onto the back of him for a few laps. And even for the rest of the race, it wasn’t like he was stupidly quicker than us.
“That was very exciting; to be genuinely the second fastest team today exceeded all our expectations. So nice to be back in the front,” summed up Piastri, who played down the team orders from McLaren to stay behind Norris. The Austrian felt it was the right call as there was no need to fight and he started losing out a bit eventually.
“Not to so much, I think it was more when Lando dropped out of DRS and I had DRS, it didn’t make sense for us to start fighting over positions,” said Piastri. “In the end, he had a little bit more pace than me in that early part on the medium and we kind of stablise – I don’t know what the gap was, maybe 2s or so – which I think was really good.
“We were still pulling away from the guys behind, so I think it was very sensible, I don’t think it impacted anything. I was pushing flat out when the gap was opening up little bit, I was trying to close up and keep up to the best as I could, we did a very good job, the whole team,” summed up Piastri.
McLaren team boss Stella defends the team’s strategy to stick with the hard tyre choice and not quickly switch to soft as it would have been an operational change within that time frame. “So initially, there was a virtual safety car. Under the virtual safety car, we were happy to go on hard tyres,” he said to media.
“Because it wouldn’t have been a problem in terms of warm up. At some stage, the virtual safety car was converted into safety car when we were pitting. Every team was at the pitstop to put hard tyres. A last minute change to soft would have been an operational problem.
“When I mentioned the operational complexity…. it is because you had the pit stop crew ready with the hard tyres. If you make a call for soft tyres, it means that the guys that need to pick the tyres would have to rush there in the garage. Remove the blankets, bring the tyres back, it can create quite a bit of a situation, and it could have delayed the pitstop.
“So that’s the operational element. We thought that is not one of those situations in which the hard tyres can make a massive difference from a warm-up point of view to soft. A bit like if you can manage the first four corners, and then you go through corner nine, you start to generate a decent amount of temperature.
“So we kept the decision simple. We didn’t want to change the allocation of tyres at the pit stop because this could have meant a significant delay. Accepting that could have cost us time at the restart maybe one position. But that was the most sensible thing to do,” summed up Stella, as he also cleared that extending Piastri’s stint wasn’t an option too.
“At that stage with Oscar, we were also starting to lose a little bit the tyres,” said Stella. “So there was a concrete risk that we could lose the position. And then it would have meant that you have to regain the position by overtaking.
“It was late enough in the race to pit safely. And obviously while you always want to think about there could be a safety car it is not like you compromise your strategy because there can be a safety car. So I think he’s one of those situations in which it’s just unfortunate timing and is in the randomness of a safety car deployed rather than something that you can really predict.”
Here’s Lando Norris passing Max Verstappen with Oscar Piastri having a look: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2023-british-grand-prix-norris-battles-past-verstappen-to-take-the-lead-on-the-race-start-at-silverstone.1770952554961569923.html
Here’s Lando Norris on Lewis Hamilton fight
Here’s Lando Norris on Max Verstappen fight