Piastri: 'We couldn't have done more than that'

Oscar Piastri faced a difficult evening on the streets of Singapore ahead of Sunday's race, but the McLaren rookie rose to the challenge to bag a remarkable seventh-place finish at Marina Bay.

Starting his race from P17 on the grid, Piastri faced a steep climb up a tricky hill. But from the outset the 22-year-old put his head down, clocking in 14th at the end of the opening lap where he remained until his only pitstop on lap 20.

Relying on a medium-to-hard conservative tyre strategy, the McLaren charger had gained a couple of positions thanks to his team's swift execution.

By lap 39 of 62, Piastri was into the top ten, his progress carrying him up to P7 during the race's Virtual Safety Car as he remained on course while others boxed.

He eventually gave way to Max Verstappen with ten laps to go but reclaimed seventh thanks to George Russell's late retirement.

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It was a job well done by the Aussie who felt that he had made the most of the circumstances.

"Starting 17th in Singapore is never the most exciting prospect, so to come away with P7 after all that is a fantastic result," he said, tired but happy.

"I don't think we could have done more than that, so I'm very happy. A great result for the team as well, great points."

McLaren F1 boss Andrea Stella highlighted the team's impeccable execution while explaining its decision to take a conservative approach to the race in terms of strategy.

"With Oscar, we'd been discussing since [Saturday]; do we want to be sort of aggressive with a strategy, similar to what Alfa Romeo did – like you pit on lap one and then you tried to undercut everyone – or we just let the race come to us by staying out of trouble and everything?

"We knew we had pace in the car, not the pace to stay with the lead cars, but I think even the old car was good enough to score points.

"We opted to go for the second option, so started on medium rather than soft and then stayed out of trouble.

"That paid off massively last year – if you remember, we finished fourth and fifth – and we sort of had the same mindset and during this race."

But for the strategy to pay dividends, it required a flawless execution by both team and driver.

"It requires like no mistakes, capitalise on your opportunities, overtake when you are in condition to do so, and when the tyres get difficult, just cope with that and keep being consistent and having good pace," added Stella.

"That's what Oscar did, and for a rookie, it's quite impressive."

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