Piastri says final stint was “quite strong” after struggles in the first two at F1 Abu Dhabi GP

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Photo credit: McLaren Racing

Despite sliding back from third on the grid to a sixth place finish at Abu Dhabi, McLaren’s Oscar Piastri found the good in their final performance for 2023.

“I think my first and second stint weren’t my best stints of the year, but I think the final stint looked quite strong. So, nice to end it on a decent note. I think we hoped for a bit more pace, but we know that our car’s still weak in a few areas, and I think this track definitely exposes that in places.

“I think the last stint, things were starting to click a lot more, and the pace generally was much better. So, yeah, I was pretty happy with how the end of the race was.”

So good was his pace in the final stage of the race that he seemed to second-guess not challenging teammate Lando Norris, who finished a position ahead in fifth.

“We were free to race, and I think at that point, I thought that he had a bit more pace and could attack Charles [Leclerc], and try and help us out, but in the end, he didn’t have enough to get Charles, and I didn’t have enough to keep George [Russell] behind. So, I think we struggled a bit, both of us. Maybe I would have done a few things differently had I had that race again, but no, I think for me, the last stint was definitely the biggest learning for the race.”

Ultimately, sixth was good enough for Piastri’s best finish since finishing second at Qatar, the team’s overall best result since Piastri led Norris onto the podium that same race, and a solid end to his rookie season after a slow start and two major incidents in the previous four races. “I think it was nice to just have a clean race. It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had a race without contact or something crazy going on.”