Piastri takes third in Formula 2 qualifying
By Mat Coch
Friday 21st May, 2021 - 2:13am
Oscar Piastri has qualified third for this weekend’s second round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship in Monaco.
Piastri will line up behind pole-sitter Theo Pourchaire and team-mate Robert Shwartzman on the grid for Sunday’s Feature Race.
It marks the Australian’s best starting position on the streets of the Principality, and comes off the back of a race-winning performance at the opening F2 round of the year in Bahrain.
“I’m very happy to be starting in P3,” Piastri said when asked about his performance by Speedcafe.com.
“It’s the best qualifying I’ve had here [in Monaco] so far, so pretty happy with that.
“And being my second F2 quali, to be P3 on the grid is a very strong position, and probably no more important place to get that good quali than here in Monaco.
“We were very close to maximising what we had,” he added.
“Compared to Bahrain, [I qualified] eighth in Bahrain, so it’s a good step forward.”
With overtaking difficult in Monaco, and points awarded only to the top eight finishers in the weekend’s first two races, third place in qualifying is arguably a better result than pole.
The opening race of the weekend features a reverse Top 10 grid based on qualifying, meaning Piastri will line up eighth. Race 2 is then a reverse Top 10 from the finishing order of Race 1.
The Feature race will then see the grid set by Thursday’s qualifying times, which will see the Australian third.
“I think being on pole here is potentially a little bit tricky for Race 1,” Piastri said when Speedcafe.com asked if third in qualifying was in fact better than pole.
“Obviously get a bad start and fall that’s how the top 10 then you’re out of the reverse race grid.
“I’d be very happy if I was on pole and had to take that risk,” he added.
“The Feature Race is still the main race and where all the main points are.
“It’s a bit annoying for Race 1, for sure, but, it definitely adds to the spectacle.
“I’d be happier if I was on pole but I think that first race, being in P3 and starting P8 isn’t such a bad position to be in.
“Obviously I’ll be trying to go forward, but if something does go wrong, and I lose one or two positions, I’ll still be in the reverse grid.
“It’s just something you got to deal with.
“If you can manage it well, and stay in the reverse grid for Race 2, then you’re still going to score some pretty major points.”
The opening Formula 2 race of the weekend takes place on Friday, the 30-lap encounter beginning at 19:45 AEST.