Rookie Oscar Piastri admitted after the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday that being lapped by race winner Max Verstappen was “quite useful” prior the late downpour, as it gave him an opportunity to follow the Dutchman when the conditions became treacherous.
Piastri expertly claimed his second points finish of the season last weekend at the Circuit de Monaco, with the Aussie having finished in a brilliant 10th after starting 11th.
Piastri was able to overtake a struggling Yuki Tsunoda towards the end of the race to elevate himself into the points, securing a double points finish for McLaren after Lando Norris finished ninth.
The 22-year-old was delighted to get through the entire race without “any touches” with the iconic Monaco walls; however, he admits he came “very close” to binning his MCL60.
“I don’t think there were any touches, but some very, very close moments, especially when we were on the slicks,” Piastri explained, as reported by Fox Sports.
“One time, I got keyed up on the radio to talk and almost put it on the wall mid-sentence. I won’t do that next time. But yeah, a few close calls.”
Piastri went on to explain how it was the most challenging race so far of his F1 career, given that he was driving at Monaco in the rain, but on slick tyres.
“The race itself was probably the most tricky of the year as well,” Piastri admitted.
“These are the weekends where you learn the most … I don’t think it gets too much harder than Monaco in the rain on slicks. So yeah, happy with that.”
Piastri was lapped by Verstappen moments before the rain started to fall, with the McLaren driver having then used the reigning World Champion as a guide when the track conditions worsened.
The Australian revealed just how useful it was to follow Verstappen, who is arguably one of the strongest drivers on the grid in mixed conditions.
“Having Max right in front of me was actually quite useful in some ways, because like, that was my first time on slicks on a rainy track in an F1 car and having Max there, I knew that if it was gonna be anyone (in front of me) that’s probably gonna be OK (to follow) it’s probably gonna be him. So yeah, that was quite useful in some ways,” Piastri explained.
“When it was raining on the slicks, you know, understandably, he was, I think, being very cautious, so I could keep with him quite well there.
“And even when we came out on inters I could keep with him quite well. I think once the track dried up, and he got a bit more comfortable then he was a fair bit quicker but yeah, initially I was managing to keep behind him, which is the first time I’ve been able to say that.”