Max Verstappen, Oscar Piastri, Imola, 2024

McLaren can fight Verstappen for Imola win – Piastri

Formula 1

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Oscar Piastri believes McLaren have a genuine chance to fight Max Verstappen for victory in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Piastri and team mate Lando Norris were both beaten to pole at Imola by less than a tenth of a second by the Red Bull driver.

Norris won the last round in Miami for McLaren after the team introduced a significant update to its car. Piastri has the full benefit of the team’s latest parts for the first time this weekend.

Despite narrowly missing out on his first career grand prix pole, Piastri described his qualifying performance as “pretty good”.

“A little bit of a scruffy last corner,” he said, “but I think around here it’s so, so difficult to do a perfect lap. So I’m really happy.

“I’ve been really comfortable with the car from the moment we put it on track yesterday and so, so close to pole, but very happy. It’s been a little while since I’ve been back up there, so I’m very happy with how this weekend’s going so far.”

Piastri believes that McLaren’s race pace performance and the speed they have shown over the first two days of the weekend makes them contenders for the win on Sunday. Asked if he felt he could fight Verstappen, Piastri said: “I think yes”.

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“Normally in the past we’d say no,” he continued, “but I think with our recent performances, we’ve learned to say yes. So we’ll see what we can do.

“We’ve definitely been on the pace all weekend. You can never count out Max and Red Bull, of course, like we’ve just seen, but I think the confidence is high. Of course, it’s not the easiest track to overtake on, but I think the confidence is high that we can do something good.”

Team mate Norris described third on the grid as “not a bad job at all” for him and his team.

“Within a tenth, both of us, for P1,” he observed. “So tiny, tiny margins.

“But I think for us as a team, we’ve had a very good weekend so far. Oscar’s done a great job and so did Max. So it’s excitingly close and I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Norris expects a very close fight during the race tomorrow, where just one small factor could make the difference between who comes out victorious.

“It’s going to be a good race tomorrow, hopefully an exciting one to watch – also an exciting one inside the car,” he said.

“But it’s tough, especially when the lap times are so tight. A lot of it is down to turn one, lap one, the strategy, the pit stops. So it’s going to be a tough race.”

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2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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6 comments on “McLaren can fight Verstappen for Imola win – Piastri”

  1. The only thing Mclaren will be doing is asking him to move out of Norris’s way.

    1. Your post aged badly.

    2. As they should

  2. If he gets a penalty thats not necessary

  3. I dont think Lando would be able to challenge Max tomorrow unless there are any issues with the RBR car or a fortuitous safety car.

    1. Hakkinen_Fan
      18th May 2024, 19:40

      McLaren are probably the only ones daring to oppose Red Bull as. pure speed (I mean race pace…) at the moment, except Another thing I want to point out is that McLaren are going in their own direction of developing their cars without copying anyone’s ideas. MCL 38 as a development has its own development path. This was proven the moment the team, abandoned the rb19 sidepod concept, seeing that it was an old concept with no prospect of development in it. What the hell isn’t clear to you, or should there just be speculation like stirring up unnecessary confrontations?

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