Prema’s Piastri shines in Monte Carlo with back-to-back podiums

Upon the final reckoning, the statistics will show that after two days of intense and exciting racing at the most iconic circuits of all, Oscar Piastri did not emerge as a race winner. He twice finished as runner-up to Dan Ticktum and then Theo Pourchaire in Monaco.

Yet that is not close to telling the full story for last year’s FIA F3 champion, the Australian pulling out two stunning drives to take back-to-back second place finishes on Saturday and put himself into championship contention.

“Happy with P2. Pretty awesome weekend, two seconds and a similar weekend to what we had in Bahrain and we finished the job in the feature race this time,” reflected Piastri afterward. “Mega weekend. I wanted a podium in Monaco and I got two, so pretty happy right now!”

Following on from the earlier sprint race, in which Piastri was promoted to second place following the disqualification of Liam Lawson, the Melbournian started from third on the grid.

And even after the earlier rain affected race, this would be a delight for the fans, Ticktum changing his tyres on lap 27 followed by Piastri a lap later. To this point, it looked as if Prema teammate Robert Schwartzman was in prime position for the win. But a slower than usual stop meant he came out a net 5th.

A frantic dash for position in the closing stages made for spectacular racing and viewing, especially at Nouvelle Chicane. Marcus Armstrong and Juri Vips collided, followed shortly after by Lirim Zendeli making a mistake and also hitting the barriers.

Then the final drama, Saturday Sprint winner Ticktum risking all with a lunge into Rascasse in an attempt to steal a podium from Piastri. It was a misjudged move, the Englishman unable to put enough lock on to prevent him from hitting the wall.

“I don’t really know what happened, to be honest,” reflected Piastri on his wheel-to-wheel dice with Ticktum. “I had no brake temp after the virtual Safety Cars, locked up into the swimming pool and then I don’t know what happened at Rascasse but I was he wasn’t behind me anymore.”

It could have been even better for the Prema team, partnered by Acronis, had Shwartzman not been held up by an unfortunate pit stop problem with his left rear tyre whilst battling for the win.

At the end of all that Monte Carlo drama, Piastri narrows the gap to just four points to second placed Ticktum, the pair chasing series leader Zhou – who now leads on 56 points.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.