‘It’s amazing to be disappointed’ – Piastri reacts to missing out on Sprint Shootout pole by 0.011s


Oscar Piastri expressed mixed emotions after qualifying for the Sprint Shootout at the Belgian Grand Prix, having been narrowly beaten to top spot by Max Verstappen.

Piastri and McLaren displayed rapid pace in another wet-dry session at Spa-Francorchamps, mixing it for pole position but missing out to the Red Bull driver by just 0.011s.

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Giving his initial reaction to the session, and the fine margins involved, Piastri said: “You can lose that much time and about a hundred times that very easily, so I was very happy with my lap – I thought I did a good job.

“Of course, there’s always points in the lap where you think I could have gained 11 thousandths, but it’s still been a very good session. Our car really likes it when it’s like that, clearly; we were good yesterday in Q2 when it was like that.”

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Meanwhile, Piastri reckoned his P2 grid slot would be the ideal place to be whether conditions are dry or wet come the Sprint a little later on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s a nice place to be,” he continued. “I think if there’s one track where you want to start second instead of first, it’s probably here, so I’m going to say I did that on purpose! But yeah, we’ll see how we go.

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“Obviously the weather could change again for the Sprint, so either I’ll have hopefully a nice tow down to Turn 5, or be able to at least see where I’m going!

“I just can’t thank the team enough; it’s still pretty amazing that we’re disappointed with being on the front row and just missing out on pole. We’ll see what we can do this afternoon.”

SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 29: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL60 Mercedes on track

Piastri fell short of pole for the Sprint by just 0.011s in another wet-dry session

With McLaren – and Piastri in particular – excelling in the middle sector, the Australian rookie joked about what was behind his impressive speed through the medium and high-speed corners.

“I mean, I drove James Hunt’s car [at Goodwood], so big balls!” Piastri smiled, referencing James Hunt’s famous quip to Sir Stirling Moss about what had made him so fast in the 1976 F1 season. “I don’t know. I think our car is very good, we’re running more downforce than everybody, so where there’s more corners, naturally we’re going to be better.

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“But yeah, I felt like it was a good lap, I felt like I couldn’t get much more out of that. I tried my best, did what the car allowed me to do and it was almost good enough to be the quickest.”



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