Piastri admits that the F1 Saudi Arabian GP was “frustrating” as he got stuck behind Hamilton

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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After developing an impressive upgrade trajectory last season, McLaren found themselves in somewhat of a similar position to the end of 2023.

Oscar Piastri made a stellar start in Saudi Arabia, overtaking Fernando Alonso early in the race for P4. However, he soon found himself trapped behind Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes as the Brit hadn’t pitted behind the Safety Car, which hindered his progress until Hamilton’s eventual pit stop on lap 36, allowing Piastri to secure fourth place overall. Twice he ended up in the turn 1 run off as he failed to make moves stick before it.

In all likelihood, it did not cost him a position as Charles Leclerc was too fast.

Piastri acknowledged that trying to find a way by was not as much fun as it was for everyone watching the fight from the ouside, saying: “I’m not sure fun is the word I would use; frustrating, yes,” the Australian said.

It kind of just showed a couple of weaknesses of ours.

“I was very relieved when he boxed out of the way but, yeah, just didn’t quite have enough on the on the straights, mainly, to get past.

Despite showing strong speed in the high-speed sector 1, McLaren struggled to match their rivals on the straights as the car proved to be the slowest, a weakness highlighted when Piastri couldn’t overtake Hamilton for almost 30 laps, even when the Brit was on aging medium tyres.

Piastri noted the closeness in performance between McLaren and Mercedes, albeit in very different parts of the track. emphasising the importance of qualifying in determining the race outcome.

“It’s very, very even [between McLaren and Mercedes].

“We have different strengths and weaknesses, for sure, and I think qualifying made the difference today.

“Lewis showed that if we qualified behind them, there was a good chance we were going to be stuck behind them for the whole night.

“So I think it’s very, very tight between us and we need to do some work to try and jump them and catch the two teams ahead.

“It was the most we could’ve done, so leaving Jeddah very happy to be honest, I got past Fernando early on, got stuck behind Lewis for a long time, then once he pitted I was okay.

“Still definitely showed some things that we need to improve a little bit, but, I think that was the most we could do at the moment.”

Piastri’s P4 on Saturday moves McLaren up to P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, 2 points ahead of Mercedes.