Piastri 'put in qualifying laps' throughout Qatar GP'

© XPB 

Oscar Piastri said he'd needed to put in qualifying laps every single time during Sunday night's Qatar Grand Prix at Lusail International Circuit.

With last minute rule changes limiting drivers to no more than 18 laps on each set of tyres, Piastri said that the race had ended up being three back-to-back sprint races, all of them flat out in stifling temperatures.

"With the three stops it was basically flat out," he explained in parc ferme after the end of the race. "It was 57 qualifying laps, which I definitely feel like I've done!

"A really good race, happy that all tyres stayed together," he added. "Definitely the hardest race I've had in my life."

Piastri had claimed his first Formula 1 race win 24 hours earlier in the sprint event in which he started from pole. But for the Grand Prix he started from fourth after having key key qualifying laps deleted for track limit issues.

That meant he started from fourth behind Max Verstappen, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. But when the two Mercedes cars collided in the first corner the door was open for him to claim second place on the podium.

"Turn 1 was nice," Piastri grinned, quipping: "That was definitely in the game plan before the race! But yeah, really impressive pace."

Verstappen, Piastri and Norris discussed the Mercedes incident in the cool-room lap after the race.

Oscar Piastri (AUS), McLaren 08.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

“Who caused it, at the start?” asked Piastri, with Verstappen declaring “Lewis turned in too much" and Norris agreeing that “George couldn’t have done anything else.”

"Was it Lewis and George that crashed?” Piastri asked, and when he was told that was the case he exclaimed: "Wow. Thank you, Mercedes!"

"It made our lives a lot easier, huh? George was quite quick," Norris acknowledged, to which Verstappen added: “You know what they call that? The law of the jungle.”

The badanage continued onto the podium where Verstappen quipped that he was too tired to lift the winner's trophy and Norris quickly riposted by saying “The trophy? I’ll break it, if you want!”


Norris has also suffered at the hands of lap time deletions in qualifying and lined up in tenth place, but immediate jumped up to sixth at the end of the first lap in part due to the Mercedes cars going off.

Thanks to the MCL60's strong pace this weekend, he made steady progress and was in the top three by lap 31. He felt he was faster that Piastri and appealed to the McLaren pit wall for permission to fight his team mate, but was denied.

"Congrats to Oscar, [he made] no mistakes," Norris acknowledged in parc ferme. "And of course Max once again.

"Just a mega race from start to finish," he said. "Good start, good pace throughout the whole thing. Probably the best pace out there today, so I'm happy. Great job by the team, three [podiums] in a row now."

Like Piastri and Verstappen, Norris said it had been an exceptionally gruelling race on Sunday in pat due to the limits on tyre usage.

Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren MCL60 at the start of the race. 08.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

"Stressful, hot, sweaty, a little bit tired," he said. "Probably one of the hardest races I've done in a way, but it's a nice challenge.

"I think the three-stop made it a lot harder, just physically. You can push a lot more," he added. "Even the last stint you could pretty much push flat out."

As a result of their combined success in both the sprint race and the Grand Prix, Piastri and Norris added a total of 47 points to McLaren's championship haul, even more than Red Bull managed with 33 points.

In particular it's made huge inroads into the gap between McLaren and Aston Martin in the battle over 'best of the rest' fourth place in the constructors standings.

Just 11 points separates the two teams now, with five races still to go in the 2023 season, while Norris is just nine points away from catching Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the drivers battle.

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