McLaren reveal how Sergio Perez wrecked Oscar Piastri’s race

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has revealed why Oscar Piastri couldn't match Lando Norris.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has shed light on the challenges faced by young driver Oscar Piastri during the Hungarian Grand Prix, where the Australian talent showed early promise but ultimately finished in fifth place. 

Stella revealed that Piastri was unaware of the damage his car had incurred during the race, contributing to his decline in performance in the latter stages.

Piastri showcased his potential by impressively climbing to second place in the early phases of the race, successfully overtaking both Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren teammate, Lando Norris, on Lap 1. 

However, as the race progressed, Piastri’s pace faded, and he concluded the event in fifth position, while Norris secured an impressive second place, finishing almost half a minute ahead of the Australian driver.

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Addressing the reasons behind Piastri’s performance decline, Stella explained that the car had sustained damage that affected its performance and subsequently led to additional tyre degradation. 

The rear downforce damage likely contributed to Piastri’s struggle to maintain pace with Norris and other competitors.

Stella remarked, “Oscar had damage on his car, and this meant that he lost a few tenths from a performance point of view, but also, because this was rear downforce, I think this caused extra degradation of the tyres…

“We think the damage happened running wide on a curb [or] when he went off track while fighting with [Sergio] Perez [who finished third], so there may be both times that this damage to the car happened.”

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While the explanation provides some insights into Piastri’s challenges, Stella also pointed out that the rookie driver’s tyre management may require improvement. 

READ: Oscar Piastri poised to replace Sergio Perez

He emphasised the importance of understanding how the tyres were utilised, particularly during the early laps of a stint, as aggressive pushing early on could lead to increased degradation later in the race.

Stella highlighted the contrasting approach of Lewis Hamilton, who adopts a more conservative strategy by going slow at the start of a stint to preserve the tyres for a stronger finish. 

Such tactics require a delicate balance, and the team will work on optimising Piastri’s tyre management for future races.