Piastri says he “lost a bit of rhythm” in Q2 at the F1 Japanese GP, starts P6 tomorrow

Oscar Piastri in the McLaren garage ahead of qualifying for hte 2024 Japanese Grand Prix - Photo Credit: McLaren Racing Media Centre
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McLaren’s Oscar Piastri disappointed by P6 result in qualifying ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix as the young Aussie crossed the line two and a half tenths slower than British teammate Norris.

The Australian will line up P6 at the start for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka following a less than stellar performance in qualifying. Despite a solid start in Q1, Piastri says he lost the rhythm in Q2 and failed to get back on top of the MCL38 for the final session.

Speaking after the session, the young Aussie seemed dejected by his P6 finish and said he was eager to see where improvements could be found.

“Yeah I think Q1 looked quite competitive and quite strong for myself,” said Piastri. “Q2 not quite as much and then Q3 yeah, similar kind of story. I think I just lost a bit of rhythm in Q2 and never quite found it again.

“It will be interesting to see where I could have improved, but yeah, that’s about it.”

He went on to explain that tyres were a limiting factor during the session, noting that the improvements the team have made since 2023 put more load through the tyres making them more difficult to manage.

“It is tricky. I think it’s tricky for everyone,” he stated. “With the tyres and the cars getting quicker and quicker, it’s just difficult to not overshoot the tyres.

“There’s definitely some things with our car that we’re trying to work to fix or to make better, let’s say, but when I look at everybody, including the Red Bulls, it’s not easy. As the car is getting faster, obviously putting the tyres under more and more stress, so it just gets more and more difficult.”

Reflecting further on his performance, he admitted his own performance cost him a better starting position. Reflecting on last season’s Japanese Grand Prix he notes that other team’s around McLaren seem to have closed the gap.

“Clearly on my side there was more on the table but I think we hoped it would be a strong one for us, and it looks like it is a genuinely strong circuit for us,” he said. “My thoughts on Ferrari being stronger and Aston being stronger are pretty accurate, I would say.

“Compared to last year, we were pretty clearly second quickest. I would say this weekend [we’re] just second quickest, and the driver can make the difference. I didn’t today. We’ve got some tight competition and I expect that to continue tomorrow as well.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Grand Prix, Piastri replied positively when asked about his potential to move forward during the race. He noted the MCL38 has shown impressive long run speed in the opening three races, adding credence to his ambition.

“Yeah, I think so,” he replied when asked about the team’s potential in the Grand Prix. “I think our race pace this year has been quite strong. Our car is clearly competitive around here, but so are the cars around us.

“So, we’ll see what we can do. Strategy could be a big factor tomorrow. The weather could be a big factor tomorrow. So yeah, we’ll see what we can do.”