Stella says McLaren “takes responsibility” for Piastri “not finishing on the podium” as grid penalty limits his potential in F1 Imola GP

Photo credit: McLaren Racing
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McLaren team principal Andrea Stella admitted that a mistake on the team’s part cost Oscar Piastri a potential podium finish in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

After a difficult start to the weekend, Max Verstappen managed to secure pole, but his best time was merely 0.074 seconds quicker than Piastri’s, who edged out his McLaren teammate to line up on the front row alongside Verstappen. 

Piastri’s P2 was short-lived, however, as he was later handed a 3-place grid penalty for impeding Kevin Magnussen in the Haas earlier in Q1.

Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc were the main beneficiaries, moving up to second and third respectively.

Stella was very candid in his assessment of the incident, attributing the penalty to poor communication on the team’s part, as Piastri was not warned about the approaching Haas in time.

Piastri climbed from fifth to fourth during the race, but despite his best efforts, a podium finish proved to be out of reach for the Australian. 

“I think Oscar pushed as much as he could push in this race,” Stella said afterwards.

“And I say this because looking at his data, speaking with our tyre engineers, they always said he’s pushing, the tyres are going to be at the limit at the end. So, Oscar, I think he went flat out.

“I don’t think he could have gone any faster. And I think in managing the budget, overall, Leclerc was a little bit more than Oscar. And he could retain the podium.

“It’s a bit of a shame for Oscar because given the performance he deployed yesterday in qualifying, he had all the cars during this weekend to finish on a podium,” Stella continued. 

“And we take responsibility for Oscar not finishing on the podium because the reason of the impeding has to do with our operations. It doesn’t have to do with Oscar making any mistake at all. It was a situation created by the team. But I’m sure Oscar will have opportunities in the future.”

Last time out in Miami, Norris claimed a maiden Grand Prix victory. In Imola, McLaren continued to demonstrate the effectiveness of their upgraded package, matching both Red Bull and Ferrari throughout the weekend. With a bit of luck, Oscar Piastri could very well be the next driver to claim his maiden F1 victory, perhaps sooner rather than later.