Oscar Piastri has admitted the Formula 1 floor damage he sustained in the Hungarian Grand Prix was worse than he first imagined but refused to use it as a "cop-out."
After a quick start at the Hungaroring, Piastri ran second but fell to fifth at the flag, laying the blame on his failure to manage the tyres through the course of multiple stints - something he had not experienced in his rookie season.
However, post-race McLaren boss Andrea Stella revealed the floor of his MCL60 had suffered damage which affected performance - with Piastri conceding in Belgium that it had a greater effect than he first realised.
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Piastri's floor damage
"I think more of it was down to the damage than I thought," Piastri told media including RacingNews365.
"I still don't want to use that as a cop-out because there are definitely things that I need to work on, but we had a little bit of carbon stuck in the floor from Lap 2 which I don't think did that much.
"But on Lap 30 or so, I picked up reasonably significant damage that made life pretty difficult out there, but even before I picked up that damage, I was struggling a little bit so I don't want to pull it all on that."
'Sense of optimism'
McLaren has been revitalised since its huge upgrade package started to be added to the MCL60 from the Austrian Grand Prix.
In the three races since, the team has scored 70 points, including back-to-back second places for Norris at Silverstone and the Hungaroring, with Piastri believing the team had always been optimistic despite a slow start to the season.
"It was not right at the start, when we started the season, obviously we weren't particularly happy with where the car was," he said.
"We obviously made a lot of changes within the team, but of course the upgrades put on the car just don't happen overnight.
"We were developing them and seeing the numbers for weeks, if not months in advance so there was a sense of optimism about what was coming, but there's always nervousness about whether it is going to deliver on track.
"It was very encouraging that it delivered as much as it did, and on Sundays, I think it maybe gave us even more than we thought in terms of lap-time, but also protecting tyres.
"Budapest was a very good test for our car and we had very similar conditions in Miami where it was very hot, and we were quite literally slowest.
"In Budapest, we were still second or third quickest team, so I think the turnaround has been pretty remarkable and there's always been the sense within the team that we could turn it around, maybe not to the extent we have, but to be back where McLaren has been for the past couple of seasons."