Oscar Piastri believes it “didn’t make sense” to battle McLaren team-mate Lando Norris during the Mexico Grand Prix after picking up significant damage in an earlier incident.

Piastri was the sole McLaren to start the race in the top 10 as Norris was caught out by a late yellow flag in Q1, resulting in a shock elimination.

After keeping clear of the opening lap melee, the Australian was later compromised when he and Yuki Tsunoda twice came together at the first complex.

Approaching Turn 1 on Lap 48, Tsunoda was unable to complete a DRS-assisted move around the outside, before the pair touched with a follow-up attempt at Turn 2.

Just one lap later, Tsunoda and Piastri came to blows when the AlphaTauri looked to the outside of Turn 1 once more, which sent Tsunoda spinning and left Piastri with damage.

“I think [it was] hard racing,” Piastri said of the multi-lap battle with Tsunoda. “The one at the end, not really sure what happened.

“I was just braking and then we touched wheels so, yeah. Nothing really more than that.”

Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren MCL60.
29.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Race Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Later, the rookie was instructed to allow Norris through after a storming drive from 17th on the grid. The Briton crossed the line fifth, some 10 seconds ahead of Piastri.

“I had some damage at that point,” Piastri clarified. “Lando was very quick at that point compared to everyone so it didn’t make sense to try and battle each other.

“In the end it meant Lando got another two spots so it worked out well for the team.”

Piastri had to settle for eighth after losing significant aerodynamic performance, alongside struggling with tyre management following the intense battle with Tsunoda.

“I think [there’s] still an element of tyre management. Of course damage didn’t help but I was battling pretty hard with Yuki which wasn’t helping either.

The Australian wasn’t particularly satisfied with his eighth-place finish, having achieved consecutive podiums in recent rounds at the Japanese and Qatar Grands Prix.

“With the pace that we have in our car now I don’t think it’s much to brag about,” he said in reference to his four-point haul.

“[We are] still always looking for more. We just struggled at certain parts and made life much more difficult.

“The pace of the cars around was similar. I think Lando was just very strong in the last stint and was able to carve through.”

The upcoming round in Brazil will see the rookie take to the Interlagos circuit for the first time in his racing career.

“Another new circuit and a Sprint weekend so I’m going to have to get up to speed quickly,” he said when confronted with the challenge this coming weekend

“Looks like a cool, old-school circuit so definitely something to prepare for and see what we can do but it will be interesting to see what the pace is like.”

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