Oscar Piastri was satisfied with his recovery from 17th on the grid for the Singapore Grand Prix to seventh, delivering more world championship points for McLaren.
The Australian rose to the points after executing a comparatively conservative strategy from the back row.
By the end of the opening lap, he’d climbed to 14th, remaining there until his sole stop on Lap 20.
There, he swapped the medium tyres out for a set of hards, gaining a spot through the pit stop sequence before taking his opportunities on track.
He moved into the top 10 for the first time on Lap 39, taking a further spot when Max Verstappen pitted on the following lap.
When others boxed during the Virtual Safety Car, triggered when Esteban Ocon stopped, Piastri climbed to seventh, the position he would hold at the flag (having lost one to the charging Verstappen before gaining it back when George Russell crashed on the final lap).
“Starting 17th in Singapore is never the most exciting prospect, so to come away with P7 after all that is a fantastic result,” he enthused.
“I don’t think we could have done more than that, so I’m very happy.
“A great result for the team as well, great points.”
The key to Piastri’s race was execution, according to team boss Andrea Stella.
McLaren had considered an aggressive approach for the young Australian, but in the end, opted for a more conservative race.
“With Oscar, we’d been discussing since [Saturday]; do we want to be sort of aggressive with a strategy, similar to what Alfa Romeo did – like you pit on lap one and then you tried to undercut everyone – or we just let the race come to us by staying out of trouble and everything.
“We knew we had pace in the car, not the pace to stay with the lead cars, but I think even the old car was good enough to score points.
“We opted to go for the second option, so started on medium rather than soft and then stayed out of trouble.
“That paid off massively last year – if you remember, we finished fourth and fifth – and we sort of had the same mindset and during this race.”
While not a spectacular strategy, it was a difficult one to execute.
“It requires like no mistakes, capitalise on your opportunities, overtake when you are in condition to do so, and when the tyres get difficult, just cope with that and keep being consistent and having good pace,” Stella explained.
“That’s what Oscar did, and for a rookie, it’s quite impressive.”
Combined with Norris’ result, McLaren now trails Aston Martin by 78 points in the constructors’ championship, the Silverstone squad leaving Marina Bay without added to its tally.