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Piastr Qualifying Key to Outpacing Mercedes

Piastri: Qualifying Key to Outpacing Mercedes

11/03/2024

Oscar Piastri stresses the importance of McLaren out-qualifying Mercedes for a lead, after a tough battle with Lewis Hamilton highlighted the team’s challenges.

Oscar Piastri believes that McLaren F1 must qualify ahead of Mercedes to finish in front of the Silver Arrows. The Australian found himself in a battle with Lewis Hamilton when the latter strategically shifted, resulting in a prolonged struggle, with Piastri never able to shake off his opponent.

“I’m not sure ‘fun’ is the word I’d use,” Piastri commented on the battle. “Frustrating, yes. I mean, I think it highlighted some of our weaknesses. I was very relieved when he moved aside, but I didn’t have enough power on the straights to pass him.”

Piastri wasn’t concerned about his final fourth position since Hamilton “hadn’t pitted yet,” but he was surprised to see him extend his stint on the track.

“I was hoping he would pit about fifteen laps earlier, but I think he started having trouble with the tires because I was almost behind him when he went in. I think it was time for him to pit at some point. And it seemed like the right moment to do it.”

“Qualifying made the difference”

Piastri confirmed that if he qualifies behind Hamilton or George Russell, he won’t be able to pass them and will be stuck behind the W15s: “I think qualifying made the difference.”

“I think Lewis showed that if we qualify behind them, there’s a good chance we’ll be stuck behind them for the entire race. So, I think it’s very, very close between us. And yes, we need to work on getting ahead of them and catching up with the two teams [Red Bull and Ferrari] ahead of us.”

The next stop for Formula 1 is in Melbourne, Piastri’s homeland. He hopes to shine in front of his home crowd and admits he would like a top 5 finish to please his local fans.

“I hope we have a good race. If there’s one race in the year you can choose to have a good race, it’s definitely the one at home. So, we’ll do our best. But yes, I think if we can finish about the same as we did tonight, that’s the most we can do.”

Piastri: Qualifying Key to Outpacing Mercedes 2024. Piastri: Qualifying Key to Outpacing Mercedes

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