The Singapore Grand Prix has just ended and despite the focus being on the front field, Oscar Piastri pulled off a magnificent race
The Singapore Grand Prix is always full of surprises and this year wasn’t any different, as Oscar Piastri found out. The qualifying session was telling of how the rest of the weekend would go. Unexpected turn of events, like Verstappen out of Q3, an impressive performance by Sainz, and everyone else fighting until the last minute. Qualifying in Singapore was simply frenetic.
The order of the drivers never settled, and it was simply nerve-wracking to watch. As Lance Stroll speared off the road in the final moments of Q1 Piastri saw his chance to make it to Q3 go up in flames. Piastri was on track behind Stroll at the time of the crash, meaning his lap had to be aborted as he arrived on the scene.
“For me, yeah… I mean, would have been able to get through if it wasn’t for that, A bit of a shame. Obviously, these things are going to happen – wish it had happened about 15 seconds later.”
– Piastri after his qualifying session
McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said that Oscar Piastri could have comfortably made it to Q3 in Singapore if it wasn’t for Lance Stroll’s crash. Piastri was deemed competitive by the team principal even without the upgrades made to teammate Lando Norris’ car. The red flag caused by Lance Stroll in Q1 and subsequently not getting out of the “danger zone” was certainly not part of Oscar Piastri’s plan. However, everything changed for the better on Sunday for the McLaren driver.
A super weekend for McLaren
Like in Austria, McLaren introduced a new set of upgrades to improve the performance of the car. Lando Norris was the first of the McLaren boys to have the upgrades. The upgrade package focused mainly on improving the car’s behavior in the slow corners, one of the MCL60’s weaknesses.
The hard work of the team certainly paid off with a podium from Norris and Piastri’s fantastic comeback from p17 to p7. Sure, the underlying problems that McLaren has manifested since the start of the season remain. However, with this new upgraded package, the Woking-based team hit the jackpot. It’s no secret that McLaren has had its fair share of ups and downs this season. But we’ve seen that being competitive is certainly not a problem for them. There are still a lot of upgrades to be made, but the team is moving in a good direction.
The awaited comeback
After starting seventeenth it was difficult to imagine the weekend going particularly well for the Australian driver. Singapore, in fact, is not famous as a track where overtaking is easy. Unfortunately, the front field maintained the focus of the cameras and the public making the midfield fade into the background. But not everything went unnoticed.
Even if Piastri’s car, unlike Lando Norris’, didn’t have new upgrades he put together an impressive race. He kept a clear head, focused on his race, and tried to pick up ground every chance that came his way. A conservative strategy certainly paid off for Piastri when he pitted on lap 20 after Logan Sargeant’s crash drew a safety car. But it didn’t stop there.
The Australian driver’s choice of not pitting when his rivals helped him gain a few positions. He went on to show off his skills again with fantastic overtakes on a circuit that, as I said before, is renowned for being difficult to pass on. Though the midfield went mostly unnoticed during the race, in the end, Piastri proved to be the biggest mover in the race.
“Seventh position is not bad at all,” said Piastri after the race. The pace was decent throughout the race and I feel I took full advantage of what was happening around me after the first lap. All in all, I am quite satisfied, and I don’t think I could have done much more. It’s good to see Lando on the podium, the team has certainly been rewarded for all their hard work. I’m looking forward to it because next week I will also receive the upgrades and I hope to have some more fun.
We’ll just have to wait and see what the young Australian driver can do at Suzuka this weekend.