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.
“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.”
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…