McLaren‘s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri shed on light on their track-limits woes in qualifying for the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, as both drivers saw their final times deleted in Q3.
Norris and Piastri initially qualified second and fourth behind polesitter Max Verstappen and split by George Russell, but it was a more sullen end to the session for both drivers with Norris particularly quiet afterwards.
Norris had track limits trouble on both of his Q3 laps meaning he starts tenth, while Oscar Piastri was initially upgraded to third before being dropped to sixth to the benefit of Lewis Hamilton.
“The team had done a good job, I just messed it up,” Norris told the media. “I just had a correction on oversteer and went off.”
When pressed on whether he takes heart at the sprint opportunities on Saturday, Norris added: “I know but I don’t think like that.
“I just think of the job I’m gonna do today which is putting in good laps, don’t make dummy mistakes and that’s what I did today. So not a good day for me.”
Piastri: The car felt decent
Piastri had matched his McLaren teammate well across the session, and looked like he might be on for a second Formula 1 podium in as many races when news of Norris‘ relegation came through.
Piastri‘s third place at the 2023 Japanese GP was his first trip to the rostrum in F1, but he faces an uphill task to repeat that order in Qatar with Mercedes expected to find some more pace come raceday.
However, Piastri knows as well as anyone that the sprint race provides another opportunity for success, after his second place in the Belgian sprint earlier in the season.
There’s points for the top eight on Saturday plus the standard one for fastest lap, and Piastri was more positive than his teammate when appraising McLaren‘s chances for the rest of the weekend.
“Obviously a shame but the car felt reasonable, just pushed a bit hard on the last lap so yeah, a shame,” Piastri said.
“We obviously get another crack at it tomorrow with qualifying and then the sprint too. So yeah, we’ll see what we can do. I think it’s very tight and it’s so easy to make a mistake, the track’s very slippery.
“So not making things easy for us but we’ll try again. Obviously, it’s a shame that we’re a bit further back now for the main race where the most points are but there’s definitely points up for grabs tomorrow.”