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Piastri outlines goal after securing front row grid slot in Monaco as Norris hails ‘better than expected’ result

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 25: Second placed qualifier Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren

Oscar Piastri has set the goal of capitalising on a good start – or a strong strategy – at the Monaco Grand Prix after putting himself in P2 on the grid, having just missed out on pole to Charles Leclerc.

While Leclerc had displayed impressive pace during Friday and Saturday’s practice sessions, McLaren had a more low-key start to the weekend in Monte Carlo, with the team admitting ahead of qualifying that their final position could be difficult to predict.

READ MORE: Leclerc beats Piastri and Sainz to home pole during Monaco qualifying thriller

However, Piastri looked to be in promising form from Q1 onwards and took this through into Q3, ending the session in second place on a lap time less than two-tenths away from Leclerc in P1.

Asked what had been missing in his attempts to take pole, the Australian – who is sporting McLaren’s special Ayrton Senna-inspired livery this weekend – responded: "Good question. I think if you took the second half of my first lap in Q3 and the first half of the second one, it would have been enough.

“A couple of mistakes at the end, but credit to Charles because he’s been incredibly quick all weekend. At certain points I don’t think anyone thought we were going to get close to him.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 25: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on

Piastri is hoping for a "good day" in Monaco on Sunday after claiming P2 on the grid

“[It’s] nice to be starting on the front row. I feel like it’s been a good weekend in terms of building momentum, and what better colours to do it in than these.”

In terms of whether he is hoping that a good launch off the line or a solid strategy call could help him to beat Leclerc come race day, Piastri acknowledged that trying to get ahead of the Ferrari driver could require “a bit of both”.

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive a frenetic Monaco qualifying as Leclerc delights his home fans with pole position

“A good start always helps, and if you can get into the lead you can control it very easily around here, so that’s probably the first goal,” the 23-year-old explained. “If not then with strategy.

“As optimistic as I want to be, overtaking around here is not easy. We’ll try our best but starting from a good spot, [there is the] chance for a good day tomorrow.”

Piastri’s team mate Lando Norris will line up in fourth. The Briton faced a tense end to Q1, with little time left for him to get himself out of danger, but he ultimately succeeded and was left satisfied with his session overall.

Norris left happy with fourth after a ‘scrappy and stressful Q1’ in Monaco

“I’m happy with fourth in the end,” said Norris. “We had a scrappy Q1, and I got some of the debris that was on the track, all the stickers have been coming off. That kind of ruined my Q1 and made it a lot more stressful than what it needed to be.

“But in Q2 and Q3, I was happy. I made some good progress, obviously not everything that I needed, and Oscar did a very good job, so hats off to him.

READ MORE: Leclerc thrilled by ‘very special’ run to Monaco pole as he reveals nerves from last-minute engine change

“But I think as a team it’s a good day for us. To be second and fourth is probably a bit better than we were expecting, so I think it’s a good sign.”

Pushed on whether he might feasibly be able to attack Ferrari and put himself in contention for a podium on Sunday, Norris answered: “Not to overtake, but yeah, something in the strategy or the start or… I don’t know what it will be. But we need something to go our way in order to do it.

“I think in just pure pace, we’re not going to be able to do a lot. We’ll do as much as we can tonight, we’re not expecting a lot but you’re always going to do your best for every position, so we’ll see what we can do.”

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