21 April, 2024
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Piastri hailed for ‘mega drive’ at the Las Vegas GP

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He may not have exactly hit the jackpot – but Oscar Piastri was the toast of McLaren  in Las Vegas as his team boss hailed the young Australian’s “mega drive” on Formula One’s big night in Sin City.

While Max Verstappen was left crooning ‘Viva Las Vegas’ from his Red Bull cockpit after yet another triumph, Piastri also savoured another successful grand prix as he negotiated a chaotic race to storm from 18th place on the grid to at one point even making the top three.

His McLaren had a coming-together with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which stalled his efforts and eventually came home strongly to finish 10th to grab one point in the standings.

He also nicked another for recording the fastest lap of the entire late-night show on Saturday.

The 22-year-old’s two points were hard-earned and earned the youngster more high praise from McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who took to social media to say: “Mega drive from Oscar who picked up points for the team, finishing in P10 and snatching the fastest lap.

“The team will now push hard one last time in Abu Dhabi. Let’s finish the season on a high.”

 Oscar Piastri enjoys life on the mock slot machines in Las Vegas before the grand prix. Image by AP PHOTO 

Piastri had been left concerned by an early crash for his teammate Lando Norris on lap three, as he only narrowly avoided the shunt himself, and he was glad to hear later that the Englishman was discharged from hospital after precautionary checks.

“I looked in my mirror and saw a lot of sparks and things flying everywhere. So that obviously wasn’t good – I’m glad that he’s okay,” said Piastri. 

Norris later assured fans he would be fine for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“I just bottomed out on the restart (after a virtual safety car period), lost the rear and hit the wall,” said the 24-year-old.

“Big thanks go to the medical staff for checking me over, and to the team for the work they’ll now put in on the car. One week to reset and go again for the season finale in Abu Dhabi.”

Piastri reckoned that the “race was definitely eventful and pretty entertaining” and said he felt he might have finished fourth amid what proved a “jumbled” affair.

“It’s just a shame that we weren’t higher up because I thought at one point we were looking really good,” he said.

“The pace was very good, and it was nice to get a bonus point for fastest lap as well. It wasn’t the easiest of days for a lot of people, a pretty jumbled race, but I think with everything that happened, it was more or less the best we could have done.”

 Max Verstappen spraying the champagne in Las Vegas after yet another F1 triumph. Image by AP PHOTO 

Still reflecting on a difficult qualifying session from the day before which forced him to start from near the back of the grid, Piastri added: “It was nice to know the car pace is still good in the race on a circuit we knew wasn’t really going to suit us very well, so, hopefully, in Abu Dhabi (the season’s finale) we can finish near the top.”

F1’s other Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who couldn’t find any pace in his AlphaTauri, had to settle for 14th place.

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