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Formula 1 Azerbaijan GP

McLaren feared sick Piastri would miss Baku F1 track action

McLaren boss Andrea Stella admits that the team didn’t know if a sick Oscar Piastri would be able to successfully complete the Azerbaijan GP weekend.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The Italian acknowledged that at one stage there was a possibility that the Australian might have missed some of Saturday’s sprint day track action in order to focus on being fit for Sunday’s main event.

In the end Piastri greatly impressed the team by not only completing the weekend but also finishing a respectable 11th in the Grand Prix.

“We had a couple of points during the weekend in which we needed to evaluate ‘Is it better to rest now to make sure that we are okay on Sunday?',” said Stella when asked about Piastri.

“So I can certainly admit that we made this evaluation a couple of times. We were very well supported by our team doctor.

“And I would like to acknowledge that the overall medical support was excellent in assisting Oscar, like his team.

“But Oscar was always very calm, and 'Okay, let's try, I'll get in the car. If I can't do it, I will box.

“And then he always found the resources to go through the session. But yes, at a couple of points we thought, 'let's think that we want to be okay on Sunday, not now.'."

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Stella admitted that the nature of the Baku street track made the situation even more stressful for Piastri, who was the only one of the three F1 rookies not to have a big accident during the weekend.

“It’s one of the hardest, because of how close you go to the walls,” said Stella.

“And it's a moment that you touch the wall, like we've seen many drivers have this weekend, even drivers in top cars, so it's definitely an issue that requires a lot of competent lucidity, and a lot of concentration.

“And sometimes Oscar said after a session, ‘I’m really exhausted.’ It was interesting, he was okay in the session, and then afterwards kind of a little bit of a drop.”

After the race, Piastri put on a brave face while admitting that it had been a difficult weekend.

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“I’m not too bad,” said the Australian. “I think the adrenaline's still kicking at the moment. But I felt a bit better this morning, which was good.

“And I think through the race, it didn't impact me too much. I'm a lot lighter than I was at the start of the weekend.

“Today's probably been the best I've felt all weekend, which isn't saying much. But yeah, it's been very difficult physically. Especially yesterday, it was pretty rough.

“I think I've had about four pieces of toast for the whole weekend! So I may need to get some food back in me before Miami.”

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