McLaren’s Oscar Piastri says he was pleased to secure second on the grid at Suzuka despite knowing he could have gone faster.
Despite never having raced at Suzuka before, Piastri out-qualified his team mate Lando Norris. The pair were half a second behind pole winner Max Verstappen.
“Yesterday we thought we could be in for a solid weekend and then I think this morning we made some good changes and the car looked quick in FP3,” said Piastri.
“I was getting more used to the track too. So I’m very, very happy to be on the front row. Of course the gap is a little bit, or a lot, bigger than I would prefer. But I’m happy to be in second.”
Despite taking the best qualifying result of his short F1 career, Piastri felt he should have gone faster. He failed to improve on his final timed lap at the end of Q3.
“I think I was about two-tenths up after the first sector, but I wasn’t going to find six,” he explained. “So in the end, it didn’t make much of a difference.
“Of course when you’re up on your lap before, you want to keep going that way. So I’m just a little bit frustrated I didn’t manage to improve on the second lap, but in the end it didn’t matter.”
It will be Piastri’s first front row start for 651 days. His last came when he started on pole position for his final Formula 2 race at Abu Dhabi during his championship-winning season in 2021.
Piastri says he will be looking to beat Verstappen on the run to turn one at the start of the race.
“It’s the first time I’ve started on the front row for a while, so it’ll be cool,” Piastri said. “There’s only one car ahead to overtake, so I’ll try and make that happen.”
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