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Piastri's Optimism Fuels McLaren's Ambition

Piastri’s Optimism Fuels McLaren’s Ambition

07/03/2024

Following a strong Bahrain showing, Piastri’s positive outlook and Norris’ competitive spirit propel McLaren’s hopes for a breakthrough season.

McLaren F1 secured sixth and eighth positions in Bahrain, courtesy of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Piastri believes this outcome aligns with the team’s expectations for the Sakhir circuit, highlighting a challenging race ahead.

“Bahrain was quite representative,” Piastri evaluates. “We found ourselves slightly more competitive in qualifying than in the race, which wasn’t entirely unexpected. However, I believe aiming for third or fourth place was within our reasonable expectations. It’s not a bad starting point.”

For the Australian, Saturday marked a positive start to the season: “I felt it was a strong race for me. On tracks like these, where tire degradation is significant, grip is scarce, and the rear tires are particularly stressed, I struggled the most last year.”

“Returning from Bahrain with a pace very close to Lando’s… honestly, I’m pleased with that. For me, it’s a significant step forward. Each circuit will present its own challenges, but I believe it’s a positive start to addressing something I’ve wanted to improve since last year.”

“Managing fatigue” in Jeddah

Piastri now hopes McLaren will maintain or improve upon their Bahrain performance: “We’ll have to see what’s possible. The conditions might favor us a bit more, potentially making us somewhat more competitive, though it’s not guaranteed.”

“I’m hoping we can be fast and find Jeddah more enjoyable than Bahrain. Qualifying is intense, and any mistakes in certain corners can be costly. During the race, we’re further from the limit, but concentration is key. Managing fatigue is crucial, but by qualifying, we’ll be pushing to the max.”

Piastri aims to demonstrate improved tire degradation management across various circuits: “There aren’t as many slow corners, and there are more high-speed turns, so the tire characteristics or management you need are quite different.”

“I struggled a bit more in Melbourne last year. In Japan, despite finishing on the podium, the deficit was significant. So, there will be several races where I’ll need to prove myself, but it will be spread throughout the season.”

“Highly unlikely” to beat Red Bull

Lando Norris is pleased with McLaren’s season start but anticipates being in a group potentially trailing behind Red Bull.

“We have a lot of cars around us, Aston, Mercedes, Ferrari… we hope for Red Bull, but it’s highly unlikely,” Norris stated. “We’re in a good position, and the track should suit us better than Bahrain because it’s fast.”

“But it’s too early to say who we’re battling with because there are four or five different teams. However, it’s good for us, it’s exciting and pushes us to work hard. We’ll try to continue the momentum from Bahrain.”

Norris isn’t particularly looking forward to Jeddah but hopes to perform well: “I like it, but it’s not among my favorite tracks. It’s a fast circuit, the first sector is quick, but any mistake comes at a high cost.”

Piastri’s Optimism Fuels McLaren’s Ambition. Piastri’s Optimism Fuels McLaren’s Ambition

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