Oscar Piastri casts clear verdict on controversial McLaren team orders at home race

Oscar Piastri stated that asking Lando Norris to take his place at his home race on Sunday was a “completely fair” request.

During the Australian Grand Prix, Piastri was running third on the road when McLaren asked him to give way to Norris on new tires for the final stint. Norris finished on his 14th career podium and the drivers finished third and fourth, respectively.

Oscar Piastri: McLaren ordered the Australian GP team in the “right call”

Even though the Melbourne crowd would have loved to see one of their own win a trophy, Norris’ day’s strategy worked out well because Piastri chose to pit early.

Having trailed his teammate during the first stint and on the starting line, he managed to overtake Norris in the second stint of the race by stopping early.

Even though he was benefiting from this at the time, Norris and McLaren realized that the Briton was faster and had a greater chance of overtaking Charles Leclerc, which is why the team orders were implemented.

Piastri was realistic about the choice, even though he acknowledged that he would have preferred to have remained among the podium finishers.

Piastri responded to a question regarding the position switch at McLaren on Sky F1 by saying, “Yeah, I mean, that was fine.”

“Lando was faster than me in the middle of that stint after he qualified first and tried something a little different at the first stop.”

At that moment, it appeared as though he might be able to pass the Ferraris. It was totally fair; I was kind of keeping up with them, but Lando was moving a little faster.

Naturally, I would have preferred to have finished in third, but collectively, I believe we made the right decision.

He responded, “Not massively, no,” when asked if there was anything he could have done differently to ensure a possible home podium.

Simply didn’t have enough money to purchase the Ferraris. I don’t think there was anything more I could have done, but Leclerc ran out of tires during his second stint there. He appeared to handle it a little better during his third stint.

Totally not a bad day, just missed a little bit today.”

In more detail, Andrea Stella, the principal of the McLaren team, explained that later in the race, Norris was the faster car due to a delta created by the high levels of tyre wear around Albert Park and the extra laps he had stayed out of.

Thus, it was the “natural” thing to do and would have happened regardless.

Stella told reporters following the race, “Well, actually I would say that swap wasn’t even strategic, that was executional.”

The fact that Lando had considerably newer tires meant the swap would have happened organically.

Since tires lose between half a tenth and a tenth of a tenth of a second per lap, Lando was always going to pass Oscar. Every lap you gain on tires makes your car much, much faster than somebody who stopped before you.

As a result of Lando’s significantly newer tires, we called the swap to prevent this from becoming an unnecessary race.

In addition, we knew that we could have caught up to Leclerc with the newer tires, which is another reason we weren’t concerned that Lando had gone too far during the first stint. Actually, though, we didn’t catch Leclerc enough even with the newer tires.

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