An unexpected rainfall led to the commencement of the Saturday race behind the safety car, leading up to a rolling start.
While some drivers immediately swapped their full wet tyres for intermediates as the conditions improved, 10 drivers decided to remain on track to prevent the loss of time due to a crowded pitlane.
Piastri made the swift switch to intermediates, whereas Red Bull opted for a more “cautious approach” by postponing Verstappen’s stop for an additional lap – despite him being detained in the pit box for an extended 3.2 seconds to avoid a collision with Lando Norris.
This decision resulted in Piastri taking a 1.7s lead ahead of the safety car’s reentry following Fernando Alonso’s crash. However, Piastri only held his lead until the sixth lap when Verstappen overtook him on the Kemmel Straight, having caught a slipstream through Eau Rouge.
Piastri confessed that he was “outclassed” by Verstappen’s RB19. The Australian driver stated: “We gave it our all. We went in for a pitstop when the safety car was pulled in. We led for a few laps. But we couldn’t compete with Max.”
Piastri speculated that the safety car, introduced due to Alonso’s crash, could have been beneficial as it decreased the number of laps he had to fend off the two-time defending champion Verstappen.
Nevertheless, he realized that Verstappen was “practically on my tail already” when he came out of Eau Rouge.
Piastri went on to say: “I was under the impression that the safety car would work in my favour as it meant fewer laps to keep him at bay.
Photo by: Zak Mauger / F1 Flow Images
“But after exiting Turn 1 [La Source], I felt that my restart was reasonably good. However, at the summit of Eau Rouge, he was virtually on my tail. I was unable to maintain my lead on the straight.”
Piastri further lauded the ongoing revival of his McLaren team, which achieved podium finishes in the recent British and Hungarian GPs due to Norris’ efforts.
The newcomer to the F1 podium said: “It’s evident that we still have some progress to make. But I’m thrilled to score the valuable points…
“I believe that besides Max, our performance was truly impressive. So, all credit goes to the team again.
“The achievements we’ve had in the last three weekends have been quite remarkable considering our past performances, so I cannot express enough gratitude for the car. “We clearly have some improvements to make to reach the top.
“But it’s much more satisfying to be up there, and leading my initial laps is a day I will always remember.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Spa F1 Sprint Race
Who took the lead initially in the Spa F1 Sprint race?
Oscar Piastri initially took the lead in the Spa F1 Sprint race after an early pitstop for intermediate tires.
Who won the Spa F1 Sprint race?
Max Verstappen from Red Bull Racing won the Spa F1 Sprint race.
How did Verstappen manage to overtake Piastri during the race?
Verstappen managed to overtake Piastri on the sixth lap by catching a slipstream through Eau Rouge and passing him on the Kemmel Straight.
What was Piastri’s perspective on his performance in the race?
Piastri felt that while he and his team gave it their all, they were unable to compete with Max Verstappen. However, he was thrilled to score valuable points and lead his initial laps, making it a day he won’t forget.
How has McLaren been performing in recent races?
McLaren has been showing an ongoing revival, achieving podium finishes in the recent British and Hungarian GPs, largely due to the efforts of Lando Norris. Piastri also lauded the team’s performance in the Spa F1 Sprint race, excluding their inability to outmatch Verstappen.