Oscar Piastri takes 7th place at Nurburgring

September 19, 2018

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0

After a strong result at the Hungaroring Oscar arrived at Nurburgring on a run of six consecutive points finishes which included a podium back at Spa. The Australian was hopeful of continuing that over the weekend and most certainly would have done had it not been for rotten luck in race one.  

The 3.1 mile German based circuit is a legendary venue in Motorsport and although on the surface it’s layout looks like one that would provide lots of overtaking in Formula Renault Eurocup that is not always the case. Now eight rounds in to a ten round championship chances of replicating the Spa podium were quickly fading so Oscar was hopeful of a good start to the weekend.

An immediate challenge before even arriving to the Nurburgring was going to be getting used to the circuit again. Prior to the weekend Oscar had only done two days of testing there back in April where he finished 9th overall. He would also be down on experience in racing terms with most of his opponents having been there in the past with various European F4 championships.

Oscar started the weekend with a positive test day on Friday. The first session would see him end the session in 12th place just over one second back from the quickest time. The Arden Motorsport driver would improve on that in session finishing an impressive 8th place bringing the gap down to seven tenths to the quickest driver.

Next up would be Qualifying for race one on Saturday morning and with just fifteen minutes on the clock there was no margin for error. With less than ten laps to set a quick time Oscar had to get up to pace quickly but as he has done several times this season he found no problems doing that qualifying fourth fastest in his group which would put him 8th on the grid for race one.

A good launch off the line saw Oscar jump straight into 7th going into turn one. It was not a move that was easily completed with Oscar having to go around the outside through the Mercedes Arena before finally getting passed at turn five. A slightly poor exit from turn twelve prevented Oscar the opportunity to pass into the final chicane. That said there was no huge threat from behind either, but the driver behind begged to differ and tried an overambitious move which led to Oscar being tipped into a spin. 

By the time Oscar got going again he found himself all the way down the back of the field in 25th place. Over the next 25 minutes Oscar put in a stellar performance as he charged his way through the field setting some remarkable lap times. Oscar was in fact the quickest driver of the entire field through the final sector and was the fifth quickest on circuit. It was no surprise with that pace he would make up a ton of positions eventually finishing the race in 16th place.

Sunday morning would start with qualifying for race two and a chance for a fresh start. Putting yesterday to the back of his mind Oscar was quickly able to reflect his pace from race one going fourth quickest in his group just two tenths away from 2nd place. Being in the faster group would mean Oscar would start the race from 7th place.

A good start to the race would see Oscar hold position through the first few corners before settling into position for what was going to be a hard-fought race. After just a couple of minutes the safety car was deployed after an incident further back in the field which would eventually lead to a red flag. When the race was eventually resumed, there was just 17 minutes remaining and it also allowed the race to quickly settle down at the front.

Oscar found himself at the back of a train for 3rd place which became a battle of lap times with overtaking evidently difficult. All the drivers in the battle, including Oscar, were lapping within one tenth of a second which was hugely intense and meant one mistake could see you falling back multiple places. As the group got quicker so did Oscar and that allowed him to be comfortably in 7th by the end of the race which is where he’d go on to finish to take a decent haul of points away from a difficult weekend heading into Hockenheim.

If Oscar hadn’t been taken out in race one there’s no doubt Nurburgring would have been a successful weekend, but instead it can only be described as unfortunate. That said the incident did allow him the chance to show off his overtaking skills and further establish him as one of the quickest drivers in the championship.

With seven points finishes in his last eight races Oscar remains 9th in the championship and is currently in a fight for 8th with two rounds remaining. Oscar’s next race will be at Hockenheim this weekend before the season concludes at Barcelona in October.

 

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