Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Albert Park, 2023

Piastri targets clean first lap and ‘hopefully my front wing doesn’t wipe out Lando’

2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Oscar Piastri says he will approach the start of this weekend’s race more cautiously after his Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was ruined by first-lap contact.

The McLaren driver suffered front wing damage on the opening lap in Jeddah. The damaged part was then struck by his team mate Lando Norris, who like Piastri had to pit for a new front wing, consigning both to the rear of the field.

Despite that disappointment Piastri said there were positives to take away from the event in which he finished a grand prix for the first time.

“Qualifying especially gave me a lot of confidence [that] the way that we’re working is the right way,” said Piastri, who failed to progress beyond Q1 in Bahrain but claimed eighth on the grid in Jeddah.

“I didn’t really change that much from Bahrain, but the results in qualifying were much different, obviously getting to Q3 this time,” he said. “So it was a nice confidence boost.”

However he admitted he needs to exercise more caution on lap one. “The first lap I probably could have done a few things differently and maybe kept myself out of trouble a bit better,” he said.

“But I think the rest of the race it’s nice to get a race distance under my belt, at least, and definitely do some learning and getting rid of some of the rust still.”

Piastri is hopeful that the nature of his home track in Melbourne will suit his McLaren.

“Compared to the previous two tracks here should be more like Saudi, I hope,” he said. “The Tarmac is quite similar, the layout is a bit more similar to Saudi compared to Bahrain. So hopefully that is good for us.

“In Saudi we showed we can get into Q3 and fight for the back end of points on our good days. So hopefully we can just have a clean race and my front wing doesn’t wipe out Lando this time and we’ll see what we can do.”

He made his F1 debut in Bahrain having not raced the year before when he was a reserve driver for Alpine. His first race back ended after just 13 laps due to a technical failure, and Piastri admitted he is still adjusting to being back in competition.

“Obviously in Bahrain. I only had a few laps to get rid of [the rust]. But I think every lap I do in the car, I’m getting more and more used to it again. Every race start I do, every first lap I do, it comes back. So I’m sure it’s going away, but I still need some more experience.”

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2023 Australian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    One comment on “Piastri targets clean first lap and ‘hopefully my front wing doesn’t wipe out Lando’”

    1. Onya Oscar. I was a little worried he’d be over before really starting being thrown into the fire in a crap car and his teammate top notch but with every race I’m liking how things are going more and more.

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