Piastri still working on race pace
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 27th September, 2023 - 12:36pm
Oscar Piastri delivered his first F1 podium at the Japanese Grand Prix but admitted he has much to learn in terms of race pace.
The Australian finished third behind Max Verstappen and McLaren team-mate Lando Norris in Suzuka on Saturday despite starting from second.
Piastri was boxed out at the start and though he gained track position following the first round of stops, he was moved aside by the team as he struggled for race pace relative to Norris.
Speaking after the race, he indicated that as an example of the things he still has to learn in F1.
“I just wasn’t quick enough at certain points of the race,” he explained.
“These high-deg races are probably the biggest thing I need to try and work on at the moment.
“I think it’s still quite fresh for me; obviously in all the junior racing before this, there’s no race just like this.
“The only way you can learn from it is by just doing the races.
“Had I had this race again, I would have done [things] a bit different, but that’s all part of the learning.
“Exciting to know that we can finish on the podium, even if I feel like there’s more to come.”
Managing the tyres in Japan was a critical task for drivers, especially given the warm conditions.
The Suzuka circuit is also a difficult one to master from a tyre management perspective.
While there is time to be gained by pushing through the opening sequence of the lap, that can overheat the tyres, which leads to sliding and a negative spiral.
Learning how to attack each lap, and knowing at which point of the race to push is an art, not a science.
“Tyre management and just pace at certain points of the race was not as strong as I would have liked,” Piastri explained when asked by Speedcafe what he felt he needed to focus on.
“The first stint, it felt like everyone was driving extremely slow. And then when I tried to push a bit more the tyres didn’t really let me go much faster, so a few things to work on there.
“Just pay, overall, in the races.
“Like I said, I think in these kinds of races, there’s no easy way to learn apart from just going through the races and having the experience, whether it’s good or bad.
“The one lap pace, especially in last few weeks, it’s been a good improvement from the start of the year but definitely, in these kinds of races, the race pace is still an area to improve.”