Piastri put ‘a lot in the bank’ thanks to Sprint lessons

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Oscar Piastri says he put “a lot in the bank” after a Sprint day at Interlagos that offered the McLaren rookie its fair share of lessons.

Piastri was an absolute beginner of sorts in Sao Paulo ahead of his first laps of the venue’s 4.3km track, having never driven the circuit before.

The Aussie lined up tenth on Saturday’s Sprint grid, a position that he held for the duration of the 24-lap race, in large part due to being stuck in a DRS train, although he briefly ran as high as P9 after gaining the upper hand over Daniel Ricciardo during a spirited battle with his countryman.

Overall, Piastri is satisfied so far with the pace he has managed to extract from his MCL60 but acknowledged that execution needed to be better.

“The speed in the car is definitely there,” said Piastri, quoted by Speedcafe. “Lando showed it today, and even for myself, it was looking good until the last two corners where it went very wrong.

“So definitely a few lessons to learn from this weekend, for myself especially, and also for the team as it is pretty tricky around here to get it all together.

“For the first time, I was happy with the pace, just unfortunately the execution has not quite been there.”

Regrading the latter, Piastri citing for his poorly-timed run at the end of qualifying on Friday, when he was sent out for his final flyer in Q3 just as conditions were getting worse.

“Obviously, in Q3, going out at the end, was a mistake in hindsight.

“The team did a very good job of correcting it today, but unfortunately I didn’t really hold up my end of the bargain.

“So definitely some things to learn and just trying to get it all together. I definitely learned a lot from a tyre management point of view, from a racing point of view, and where to position the car.

“So definitely a lot learned, but still some things to try and improve, but a lot in the bank.”

Saturday’s Sprint was an entertaining affair for the fans, for while there was no contest at the front of the field, multiple battles raged further down the order, and particularly between Piastri, Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz up ahead.

“The first half of the race there was obviously a lot of battling, and I felt like I was quite quick, but I didn’t have the pace to use it,” noted the McLaren charger.

“It was a good battle with Dan. I could see I was a bit quicker in the first few laps, and he was quicker than Carlos.

“The opportunity was there. I thought I might be able to get past him and then get Carlos as well but I used up a lot of my tyres trying to do that.

“Maybe I over-pushed a bit too much at the start, and then paid for it in the last few laps because after making the move on Daniel at one point, I didn’t really have much left after that to go and get Carlos.

“It didn’t make life easy, but I’ve learned that overtaking is definitely doable.”

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