If the sprint race in Belgium hadn’t ensured that Oscar Piastri’s rookie season in Formula 1 was going to go down as an unqualified success, then back-to-back podiums in Japan and Qatar definitely did.
But Piastri’s form looked like it dipped since, and his 2023 season risked ending on an indifferent note.
While McLaren team-mate Lando Norris scored at a high rate and stole the headlines, Piastri didn’t get much at all from the three races leading up to Vegas.
There was misfortune befalling him, yes, but also clear weaknesses to his game, and he unsurprisingly scored outside of the top 10 in our driver rankings for Austin, Mexico City and Interlagos.
Las Vegas looked like it was going to be much of the same – Piastri marginally outpaced by Norris in qualifying but both of them were left stranded in Q1 by an underperforming MCL60 and an overly gung-ho tyre strategy.
Yet, though Piastri would ultimately come away from the weekend with just a couple…