Oscar Piastri hailed for 'mega drive' amid dramas for F1 at Las Vegas Grand Prix

The Aussie F1 driver has received high praise for his drive in the Las Vegas GP.

Oscar Piastri was the toast of McLaren in Las Vegas as his team boss hailed the young Australian's
Oscar Piastri was the toast of McLaren in Las Vegas as his team boss hailed the young Australian's "mega drive". Image: Getty

Aussie F1 sensation Oscar Piastri has been applauded for his "mega drive" on Formula One's big night in Sin City. McLaren's team boss was full of praise for the youngster who negotiated a chaotic race to storm from 18th place on the grid to at one point even being in the top three.

On lap 32 of 50 Piastri was flying, registering the fastest lap and was closing on the two leaders. However, his McLaren had a coming-together with Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, stalling his efforts and eventually he came home strongly to finish 10th to grab one point in the standings. He also nabbed another point for recording the fastest lap of the entire late-night show on Saturday.

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The 22-year-old's two points were hard-earned and led to the youngster receiving praise from McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: "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."

Post-race Piastri said it was a strange race and thought he could have finished much higher if things had panned out. "The race was definitely eventful and pretty entertaining," he said. "It's just a shame that we weren't higher up because I thought at one point we were looking really good."

"The pace was very good, and it was nice to get a bonus point for the 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."

Piastri has high hopes heading into the season finale in Abu Dhabi. "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," he said.

Max Verstappen nabs Vegas win and more history

Max Verstappen may have won the race but it was much harder work than he has been accustomed to recently. The Dutchman fell to as low as 11th after his first stop when he was penalised and crashed into. From there though he rode his luck to get back into the mix.

His crash with George Russell and the ensuing debris which triggered the safety car brought him back into contention with fresher tyres than rival Charles Leclerc. From there he made his way through the pack and took over teammate Sergio Perez with ease and pulled away to register yet another win and a historic milestone to boot.

The Vegas triumph means Verstappen has now equalled Sebastian Vettel on 53 victories, third on the all-time winners list. Verstappen is the overwhelming favourite to take take third spot outright next weekend and will then set his sights on Michael Schumacher (91) and Lewis Hamilton (103) ahead of him.

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 18: McLaren driver Oscar Piastri (81) of Australia navigates Turn 1 during the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix on Saturday, November 18, 2023 on the Las Vegas Street Circuit in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
McLaren's team boss was full of praise for Piastri who negotiated a chaotic race to storm from 18th place on the grid to at one point even being in the top three. Image: Getty

Vegas GP had its share of troubles

The historic 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix kicked off on Friday amid disastrous scenes as just eight minutes into cars taking to the track for the first practice, a concrete framing for a water valve cracked, badly damaging two cars that drove over it.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz had his battery, engine, and chassis sustain catastrophic damage after hitting the manhole cover around 318km/h, while Esteban Ocon also suffered significant chassis damage, with the first practice session completely cancelled. The second session was delayed by two and a half hours for repairs to the track.

By the time the second practice session eventually began at 2.30am - the latest start time in F1 history – there were no fans left in the stands as they were kicked out at 1.30am due to staffing and logistical reasons. Martin Brundle on commentary said: “It’s got the feel of a (Covid-19) lockdown race. There’s nobody around!”

with AAP

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