Piastri rues track limits Qualifying mistake
By Mat Coch
Saturday 1st July, 2023 - 10:52am
A mistake in Qualifying 2 for the Austrian Grand Prix saw Oscar Piastri bundled out of the session when his best lap was deleted for track limits.
Piastri will line up for Sunday’s race 13th after track limits saw his best lap deleted – a lap that would have seen him progress into Qualifying 3.
“Disappointed,” Piastri said of his early elimination.
“It was a good lap apart from that, but didn’t quite keep it in the limits.
“Turned in a bit too early for the corner, hit the kerb, and then the rest was history.
“A shame to be out, otherwise the pace was very good again in one lap.”
Piastri was among a host of drivers to fall victim of track limits, the Australian’s transgression happening at the final corner.
A total of 47 laps across the Qualifying hour were deleted with almost every driver overstepping; only George Russell, and Charles Leclerc failed to catch the eye of officials.
Sergio Perez had three laps deleted during Qualifying 2 which saw the Red Bull driver eliminated without a representative time on the board.
Nevertheless, it was a promising session for McLaren, with Lando Norris fourth fastest in the sole updated McLaren in Austria.
McLaren was able to expedite the delivery of a set of upgrades this weekend, fitting them to Norris’ car in what is the first step of a three-race assault of new parts.
Early indications are positive, though with comparatively limited running caution needs to be taken when reading into his fourth-place qualifying position.
“A very good day from start to finish,” he told Sky Sports.
“We had a few issues this morning which meant we were even more limited on running, but with quite a new car and to get it to just work as it should, the guys did a very good job to allow that.
“But as a driver, I’m complaining because I could have been P3,” he added.
“I made a little mistake, but I’m happy nevertheless.”
Norris suggested a mistake at the final corner, which forced him to lift to remain within track limits, and robbed him of time that would have seen him best Carlos Sainz.
Regardless, it marks a strong starting position and a positive start to the revised McLaren’s life.
The job is not done, however, and Piastri was cautious with his optimism, acutely aware of his team’s tendency to excel in qualifying before drifting backwards in the race as it struggles to keep its tyres alive.
“It was not our first qualifying session where we’ve been strong, so we still need to make sure our race pace is strong, or stronger,” he said.
“Obviously tomorrow is basically its own day; another qualifying session, another chance to try and get into the top 10 and try and get a few points in the sprint if we can,” he added.
“We’ll see what the weather throws at us tomorrow and then Sunday, we’ll see.
“We seem to struggle a little bit more on Sundays than Saturdays; obviously starting 13th now is going to be tricky to move forward, but we’ve got a couple of cars that maybe we can beat.”
The Austrian Grand Prix weekend continues with the Sprint Shootout on Saturday at noon local time (20:00 AEST) ahead of the Sprint at 16:30 (00:30 AEST).