Piastri “just wasn’t quick enough at certain points” despite breakthrough podium

Formula 1

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The joy of reaching the Formula 1 podium for the first time for Oscar Piastri was subdued by what he considered to be an sub-par drive to third in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Piastri qualified second but lost that position on the opening lap of last Sunday’s race and only returned to the top two for three laps during his second stint before being passed by McLaren team mate Lando Norris halfway through the 53-lap race. Following that, Norris pulled away to lead Piastri home by 17.1 seconds.

Finishing third lifted Piastri from 11th to ninth in the championship standings, and he became the first F1 rookie to make the podium in a grand prix since 2017.

“It’s special wherever you get a podium, I think. To get the first one, I don’t think it really matters where, it’s always going to be special,” said Piastri.

“You know, I think for myself, it probably wasn’t my strongest Sunday. So from that side of things, there’s still a few things I want to work on. But no, to get the first podium, on pace as well is a very exciting moment.”

Changes to the track surface at Suzuka and warmer temperatures than usual meant tyre degradation was particularly high last weekend. Piastri said that created the kind of conditions in which he most needs to improve.

“I just wasn’t quick enough at certain points of the race,” he said. “These high-deg races are probably the biggest thing I need to try and work on at the moment.

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“In all the junior racing before this there are no races like this. So the only way you can learn from it is by just doing the races. So there’s definitely a few things, had I had this race again, that I would have done a bit different.

“But that’s all part of the learning. It’s so exciting to know that we can finish on the podium, even if I feel like there’s more to come.”

Piastri suspects he needed to put less strain on his tyres earlier in the stints. “The tyre management and just pace at certain points of the race was not as strong as I would have liked.

“In the first stint it felt like everyone was driving extremely slowly and then when I tried to push a bit more the tyres didn’t really let me go much faster. So there’s a few things to work on there and just pace overall in the races.

“In these kinds of races there’s no easy way to learn apart from just going through the races and having an experience where it’s good or bad. The one-lap pace especially in last few weekends has been a good improvement from the start of the year but definitely, in these kinds of races, the race pace is still an area to improve.”

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2023 Japanese Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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16 comments on “Piastri “just wasn’t quick enough at certain points” despite breakthrough podium”

  1. Interestingly Piastri overtook Russell (the last maiden podium scorer) to claim 3rd place and his maiden podium.

    Russell claimed his at the 2021 Belgium race, 48 races later it was Piastri, never in the history of F1 had there been so many races between maiden podiums. The previous record was 41 races between Monza 2008 (Vettel) and Australia 2011 (Petrov). That gap does still hold the record when measured in days with 924 versus Russell to Piastri gap being 756 days.

    1. It’s an interesting stat. Lots of factors: stale line-ups, stale competitive orders, a lack of rookies generally, and so many drivers have had a (more or less) lucky podium or two.

      The only drivers without one on the 2023 grid are Zhou, Tsunoda, the rookies Lawson, Sargeant, and De Vries and, of course, Hülkenberg.

      1. And also 3 teams normally better than others: ferrari, red bull, mercedes, and russell, as the record says, wasn’t at mercedes yet when he got his first podium, this doesn’t leave a lot of chances to others, however now with the budget cap, it seems mclaren and aston are more competitive, we now have 4 teams who can regularly battle for podiums, this makes it even harder for backmarker teams to get them, but easier otherwise, I’d say none of those drivers have a half decent chance on a podium because of the car.

  2. He wasn’t quick enough, lost too much time to pass Russell, but it’s ok, he’s a rookie, and a very promising one.

    Norris again asking for a switch every single time he’s behind a team mate though, annoys the hell out of me.

    1. Oh good, it’s not just me then. Annoys me also, I just expect it now, whinge and get the switch done without trying.

    2. Norris was correct to ask on this occasion though. He was clearly faster than OP.

      1. Yes he was. But he also didn´t seem fast enough to make the move on track.

        Instead, Norris managed to persuade the team to make the swap based on a threat of Russel, who in fact wasn´t in the contention after his stop. Mclaren might not accept such request from Norris next time if they are clear 2-3 again.

        1. Nope the team orders were justfied.

          1. I’ve got a feeling OP is going to be a little speedier than Norris very soon, so the problem may just not arise again…

  3. He certainly seems to lack some of the race pace over the distance compared to Norris, yeah. Well, that will be something to focus on now for the coming races then.

    I must say that I am pretty impressed with him so far this year. Glad to have him on the grid

    1. Yes, makes for a really strong line up at mclaren, they have 2 drivers who can deliver, even with norris out they can expect good results in quali and race.

    2. Does seem to fade during the race faster than the curtains during daylight savings time.

  4. Since McLaren started their major upgrades Oscar has been very close to Lando, in lap time comparisons. The lap time gap at Suzuka is similar to the gap at the start of the year. I wonder if the current package has created some new technics for Oscar to learn?

  5. Big fan of Piastri. Rising star etc. but i couldn’t help but notice there was a distinct gap to Lando in the race. Maybe at spoon, and the first righthander at the end of the straight.

    Its a hard circuit to get right on first visit.

    1. Wait and see if Piastri is the speedier one come Suzuka 2024.

  6. José Lopes da Silva
    26th September 2023, 14:32

    Where are the people that predicted that Piastri was doomed in F1 for shunning Alpine?

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