Both Esteban Ocon and Oscar Piastri avoided putting blame on each other’s door for the opening lap clash that put both out of the United States Grand Prix.

Starting 10th, the McLaren driver had a strong launch off the line and eyed up a move on the inside of Turn 1 as Ocon ran side-by-side with Alpine team-mate Pierre Gasly.

Approaching Turn 2, Piastri attempted to hold on around the outside of Ocon but the pair made contact which would soon put an end to the pair’s Sunday afternoon in Austin.

Alpine called Ocon to retire as early as Lap 6 while overheating called time on Piastri’s race by the end of Lap 10.

“I didn’t really think anything of it to be honest,” Piastri said post-race.

“I felt like I definitely had the right to be there. I don’t think Esteban did anything untoward, just we met and unfortunately it’s caused damage for both of us so, just one of those incidents.

“There’s fluid all down the right sidepod and that’s where the contact was so. Yeah, I think that was probably a big cause of the end of the race.

“I think today was a better step forward from yesterday, maybe still not quite to the same level I would have liked but definitely a big improvement from yesterday.

“It’s a shame it’s over early, I think there was still a lot of learning to go on this afternoon, but yeah. I think I was getting better and better, just needed to do it a bit quicker. “

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A523 at the start of the race.
22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.
–, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

Revealing more details about the cause of Piastri’s retirement, McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella explained: “The impact with the front left wheel of one of the Alpines caused the damage in the water system right under the sidepod, under the bodywork on the sidepod, and this meant that we had a gradual loss of the pressure.

“And at some stage we saw that temperatures were going out of control. Pressure was kept reducing, so we needed to retire the car.”

Asked whether the contact was partly down to bad luck, Ocon explained: “I had a good launch, I was on the inside. I just took the corner, obviously Oscar then tried to go around the outside [Turn 2] and that was it – we touched. If I had to do it again, there’s nothing I’d really change.

“At the end it doesn’t matter to comment on it, the end result is that we are both out of the race. We both touched and we paid the price. We both had to retire the car, my whole sidepod was damaged which is a big shame.

“I think we could have scored points today. Only a couple of days until we go racing again which is good because we can turn the page.”

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