Aussie F1 rookie Oscar Piastri was left fuming at the class’ tyre compound rules after he was sent toppling down the order in the closing stages of Sunday’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Piastri qualified in 18th position but carried out a spirited drive over the 50 laps of the Las Vegas Strip, which at one stage saw him fighting for a podium finish.
The 22-year-old took the chequered flag in 10th, just inside the point placings, but sat fourth with six laps remaining before a switch from the hard compound tyres to the medium compound tyres caused him to loose time and track position.
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Buoyed by the decision to pass up a mid-race pit stop under the second safety car period, Piastri jumped from ninth to third place.
However, the tactic ultimately backfired later in the race when he was forced to pit for a different compound of tyre.
Piastri had started the race on a set of the Pirelli hard compound tyres, pitting on Lap 16 for a second set of the same after picking up a puncture.
Under F1’s rules, the use of two different tyre compounds is mandated.
To avoid being penalised, Piastri had to stop for a second time to have mediums fitted, conceding most of the advantage he had built.
« I think the timing of the safety car was pretty much perfect for the guys that stayed out on mediums at the start, » Piastri told media post-race.
« I was really wishing the rule of using two compounds didn’t exist, because I would have just gone to the end on the hards [tyre].
« We had the pace to hang on to people, so that was a shame. The pace of the car was a really good surprise.
« It almost feels like we deserved a bit more than P10. »
With fresh tyres, Piastri set the fastest lap of the race, picking up a consolation point.
Earlier, the Melburnian had been moving up the placings when he made wheel-to-wheel contact with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at turn 14 on lap 16.
Both cars suffered punctures and were forced to pit.
« It was kind of just an awkward one, » Piastri said of the incident with Hamilton.
« Neither of us had really committed to the corner that much and we both committed at the last minute.
« Then I was trying to back out of it, but we just ended up meeting in the middle.
« I don’t think it really hurt our race in all honesty. It would have been interesting to see if a one-stop [with stints on the hard and medium] could have worked.
« A lot of things for a lot of people went wrong in that race, and I think I was in the same boat. »
Piastri’s McLaren teammate Lando Norris had his race brought to a premature end just four laps in after losing the rear end of his car and spinning into the wall.