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Oscar Piastri

Piastri ‘fortunate’ after avoiding ‘major’ Leclerc collision damage

Oscar Piastri escaped opening lap contact in the Austran Grand Prix unscathed.

Piastri Sainz Austria
To news overview © XPBimages

Oscar Piastri has conceded that he was “fortunate” to avoid “major” damage, following an opening lap collision with Charles Leclerc in the Austrian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver started in seventh after losing his best lap time in qualifying, due to exceeding track limits. He would have started third if not for the illegal lap, convincing many that he would make places during the race.

Piastri made an average start yet was in a position to sweep around the outside of Leclerc and Sergio Perez, although contact was made with the former. Leclerc’s front wing made contact with Piastri’s rear right tyre, yet the McLaren driver somehow escaped relatively unscathed.

It was not the same for Leclerc, whose race was ruined due to sustaining damage that forced him to immediately pit. From that point on, Piastri charged through the field and finished in second following Max Verstappen’s clash with Lando Norris.

In the Australian driver’s eyes, he was lucky to escape without severe damage, in what was deemed a racing incident.

“Yeah, I didn't get the best of starts, but saw a bit of an opening on the outside and then, yeah, went nice and late on the brakes,” Piastri told select media including RacingNews365.

“I couldn't really see where Checo went on the inside, but I didn't think he was really that far up alongside Charles, but obviously all three of us kind of met at the apex.

“So, yeah, quite fortunate for myself. I think there was a little bit of damage, but I don't think anything major. Had a bit more contact with Checo again a bit later in the lap. So, yeah, it was an eventful race.”

Late-race pace

Piastri ran in fifth for the bulk of the race after overtaking Lewis Hamilton and looked set to miss the podium places. However, Verstappen and Norris’ clash changed this entirely.

Suddenly, on lap 64 when the collision occurred, Piastri found himself in third and right on the gearbox of Carlos Sainz.

Sainz was overtaken with ease by Piastri, who pulled off a sensational overtake around the outside of the sixth corner, something he did on Perez in the opening laps.

“Yeah, Turn 6 was a happy hunting ground,” added Piastri. “I think I did three moves there around the outside.

“Yeah, very, very close on the way into Turn 4. And then, yeah, just had a bit more grip around the outside of 6 and managed to get it done. So, yeah, pretty happy with that.”

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