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Two times two: Piastri’s reward for rollercoaster weekend

Matt Clayton
Monday, 1 July 2024

Oscar Piastri’s Austrian Grand Prix was, as he admitted, one of a number of “what-ifs”; it was also his best points haul of the season, after a pair of second places achieved in markedly different ways.

Oscar Piastri admitted to wondering what might have been after finishing second in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, after the McLaren driver lost third on the grid for a contentious track limits violation in Q3 and survived a first-lap clash with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to finish less than two seconds behind shock race-winner George Russell (Mercedes). 

Piastri lost his best lap time in Q3 on Saturday for falling foul of the track limits rules policing Turn 6 at the Red Bull Ring, a ruling McLaren protested to no avail after the session. 


From seventh on the grid, Piastri and Leclerc (sixth) then made contact at the first corner on the first lap, Leclerc’s race effectively ruined with a puncture before it started.

Piastri, who led for a lap when Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) and teammate Lando Norris pitted for their first stops, looked on track to finish fourth after winning fights with Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who crossed the white line designating the pit-lane entry and was penalised, and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), who he dispatched with a sweet move at Turn 6 with six laps left. 

After the Verstappen/Norris clash took the two long-race front-runners out of victory contention inside the last 10 laps, Piastri ran out of time to mount a challenge to Russell for the win, but was content with his weekend as a whole after he’d finished second to Verstappen in Saturday’s sprint.

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“It feels like a really good result,” he said.

“When I finished second in Monaco, I was super happy. Today it’s almost there are so many what-ifs. Obviously the penalty yesterday, a bit of a tough first stint, the virtual safety car at the end … there were so many little things that, if they had have been a little bit different, the result could have been so different. 

“It’s a bit hard to ignore those right now. [But] very, very happy. Some good points. Another podium, and after starting in seventh, I didn’t really expect that.”

Rewind 24 hours, and Piastri was fuming after his track limits penalty in qualifying. 

“I think it’s embarrassing that you see us pushing right to the limit of what we can do,” he reasoned.

“If I’m one centimetre more, I’m in the gravel and completely ruined my lap anyway, and it gets deleted. It’s a bit painful that we’ve done so much good work in all the other corners in removing the element of track limits, and we still have a corner like that where you can not be in the gravel but still outside the track limits.” 

After his Spanish Grand Prix a week earlier saw him suffer a mysterious lack of pace as Norris thrived, Piastri was happy to bounce back so quickly in Austria, and was already looking ahead to McLaren’s home race at Silverstone next Sunday. 

“I think obviously very important in the constructors’ [championship],” he said of his second place, especially after Norris was forced into retirement.

“Quite a few teams had bad races in terms of having one car not finishing, or finishing well down. Obviously Mercedes had a good haul of points [so it’s] important for the constructors’, definitely. Even just in terms of getting a result, it’s always nice when you’re there to get on the podium.

“[Silverstone] was a place of good memories from last year, and hopefully we can be up the front again. I think we’re well and truly in the mix.”

Oscar Piastri at the Austrian Grand Prix

Oscar’s Austrian Grand Prix by the numbers

  • Sprint (24 laps): Started 3rd, finished 2nd
  • Race (71 laps): Started 7th, finished 2nd
  • Fastest lap: 1min 08.697secs (4th), lap 56
  • Points this event: 25 
  • Points this season: 112 (6th in world championship)