McLaren driver Oscar Piastri feels starting on the front row of a Formula 1 race in his rookie season is a privilege after qualifying an excellent second for Sunday’s 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.
Despite having never previously driven at Suzuka, Piastri had an excellent qualifying session, posting the second-fastest time of Q3 and becoming only the fifth Australian to start on the front row of an F1 Grand Prix.
“It’s nice to have that there’s not been that many Australians in F1 full stop,” explained Piastri to the press. “But yeah, it’s not a record I’m trying to chase.
“[It’s just] nice to have that success so early on in my F1 career, some people don’t get [these] opportunities in their whole career.
“So for me to have [that] in my first six to seven months is a privilege. But I want to try and be the next Australian to break some other records or be added to those lists.”
Morning tweaks the key
Piastri was joined in the top three by his McLaren teammate Lando Norris, further vindicating the Woking-based team’s good speed throughout the weekend at Suzuka.
However, neither could stop Max Verstappen, who bounced back after an unhappy Singapore GP to take pole position by over half a second from the McLaren duo.
“I think yesterday we thought we could be in for a solid weekend,” told Piastri. “This morning, we made some good changes.
“The car looked quick in FP3, and I was getting more used to the track too. So very happy to be on the front row. I was about two-tenths up after the first sector.
“But I wasn’t going to find six. So, in the end, it didn’t make much of a difference, just a little bit frustrated. I didn’t manage to improve on the second lap, but in the end, it didn’t matter.”