Piastri 'could be first and we could be eighth’ in qualifying

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Oscar Piastri says anything goes in the wild world of Monaco qualifying in which the McLaren driver could snatch pole or end up stranded in the mid-field.

Piastri ended up a seemingly distant P12 in Friday’s final practice session in the Principality over a second adrift from Ferrari pace setter Charles Leclerc.

However, there was more to the story, with the young Australian strategically opting to skip using the faster soft tyre during the session to focus on race simulations instead.

In FP1, Piastri had clocked in a mere 0.029 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton, who topped the session for Mercedes. This was likely a more accurate picture of raw pace, as both drivers had pushed for the quickest lap on similar tyre compounds.

Piastri explained his strategic approach in FP2.

“We ran a set of softs in FP1, you only get a certain amount of sets of softs for the weekend, so we're trying to prepare for qualifying tomorrow,” he said, quoted by Speedcafe.

“We thought that, at the time, there was a high chance of rain for FP2, so we wanted to get some softs running in early.”

Piastri acknowledged the strong pace of McLaren’s direct rivals based on Friday’s action. But the 23-year-old was also encouraged by his own performance and his car’s potential.

But the tight spread among the front-runners inevitable adds another layer of intrigue to the mix, making Saturday’s qualifying a must)watch for F1 fans.

“Ferrari looked quick, Red Bull looked good, Mercedes looks a lot stronger this weekend, so far, so it's very tight at the front,” he added.

“Honestly, we could be first and we could be eighth.

“Even Aston looks pretty decent, Alonso looks good, so it could be first, it could be 10th. You never know.

“It's been very, very tight between everyone today, so we'll try and tune up the cars for tomorrow, give it a good run and I think it's going to be exciting.”

Piastri admitted that his brush with the barriers at the chicane in practice had been a little too close for comfort, and that only a flawless effort will seal a spot on the front row in Saturday’s grid-defining session.

“I've been pretty happy with how I've driven today, a couple of touches on the walls aside,” he admitted.

“When I touched the wall was in probably the worst place to touch it, in that chicane, so I'll try not to do that again.

“I think it's very much in the drivers' hands,” he added of qualifying.

“It looks like there are a lot of quick cars out there, so whoever nails the lap is probably going to end up on pole.”

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