The car was condemned as a dud, but how things have changed. PETER COSTER says there’s a new kid on the block:
Everybody’s talking about Oscar. The Melbourne rookie driver who should have been on the podium at the British Grand Prix.
Except he wasn’t. He was fourth because of a safety car incident when Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg parked on the side of the track when his engine failed and Lewis Hamilton slipped in to third when the field slowed under a red flag.
As it turned out, Max Verstappen finished first for his sixth successive Grand Prix victory with Lando Norris second.
No one expected it and no one expected the McLarens to run at the front in the race. Lewis Hamilton described the McLaren as a “rocket ship.”
So too did Piastri.Embed from Getty Images
This it the car Daniel Ricciardo could not drive, leading to his sacking from McLaren.
Oscar Piastri was his replacement. At 22 years old, Piastri has fulfilled his potential as the winner of all the junior titles before signing with McLaren this year.
Scenes in there McLaren pits were like a rock’n’roll mosh pit with team boss Zac Brown high-fiving everyone from Piastri’s manager and former Australian F1 winner, Mark Webber, to the McLaren mechanics and anyone else who stood in front off him.
Oscar Piastri’s parents were also in the pits to join in their son’s sudden emergence at the front of the grid.
It was as unexpected as the McLaren’s sudden success. Piastri’s car did not have the same upgrades as Norris’s car at Silverstone and the car had mostly been condemed as a dud.
Now everybody’s talking about Oscar.
Norris said after the race that Piastri would have been/should been on the podium.
The safety car, which gave Hamilton and the other leading drivers an advantage on Piastri was, well, one of those things.
But McLaren is back at the sharp end of the grid.
Red Bull and Verstappen are still there but Ferrari and Aston Martin are struggling.
It’s another reason why everybody is talking about Oscar.
At Red Bull, Sergio Perez failed again in qualifying and is under mounting pressure as Verstappen’s teammate.
The Mexican driver is likely to keep his seat for next year, but mainly because Red Bull driver deverlopment adviser Helmut Marko thinks “no one else is available.”
That includes Daniel Ricciardo who may find a seat with junior Red Bull team Alpha Tauri is also beyond him.
At Aston Martin, it’s the same for Lance Stroll after a run of outs behind Fernando Alonso.
At Ferrari, Charles Leclerc and Carlos find themselves in the midfield.
It is much the same at Mercedes, in spite of Lewis Hamilton’s third place at Silverstone after Piastri’s misfortune.Embed from Getty Images
In spite of which everybody’s still talking about Oscar.
Well, nearly everybody. The celebrities now crowding the Grand Prix grids are as ignorant as ever.
They are given a free pass to hype up the atmosphere, but avoid interviewers such as Martin Brundle in fear of being asked about something of which they know nothing.
This has led to Brundle being manhandled by equally clueless security guards, with three-times world champion Sir Jackie Stewart surrounded when trying to approach tennis champion Roger Federer on Brundle’s behalf .
At Silverstone, model Cara Delevingne attempted to ignore the grid-walk veteran by saying she couldn’t hear him, but said later she had been told not to speak to him.
This makes no sense at all. Brundle usually asks celebrities harmless questions such as which drivers they are following.
The solution to these celebrity snubs are for those who give them the tickets to insist the free pass comes with something to say.
No interview, no free pass.
Sing for your supper as actor Damian Lewis did in singing the national anthem.
Lewis said he spent weeks telling himself not to think about the “queen” when singing about the “king.”
The next Grand Prix is at the Hungaroring on July 23.
There are 23 races on the F1 calendar this year, including the Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 19.
The race was won by Australian world champion Alan Jones in the Caesar’s Palace car park in 1981.
This year, it will be held on Saturday night under the lights of the US gambling capital.