‘Under the weather’ Piastri battles into top-10 in Baku
April 29, 2023 / 12:13 am
Oscar Piastri says he has not been feeling well during his trip to Azerbaijan but Australia’s Formula One new boy looked to have perked up after another impressive day behind the wheel of his McLaren.
The 21-year-old from Melbourne brushed aside the illness that’s been bugging him in Baku to make it to the third and final qualifying session at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Friday and finish a creditable 10th.
With his British teammate Lando Norris finishing seventh, it represented the best qualifying effort of the season for McLaren, who’ve introduced some upgrades for Baku, the fourth race of the season.
“It’s not been the easiest days for myself, I’ve been a little bit under the weather but happy to be in Q3 (the third qualifying session) and nice to start the weekend off well,” Piastri told Sky Sports.
Asked if his illness might be problematic for him on a busy Saturday when he has to take part in another qualification session before the first sprint race of the season, Piastri smiled: “I’ve felt better before … but I’ll be fine for tomorrow.
“Having both of us in Q3 is a really good result for the team.”
The only frustration for Piastri was that, extraordinarily, he recorded exactly the same time as Lance Stroll to a thousandth of a second – 1 minute 41.611 seconds – but the Aston Martin driver earned ninth place on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix ahead of him because he’d been the first to set the time.
“I was a little bit frustrated to do the same time as Lance but it was a positive day and I’m looking forward to jumping out to qualify again tomorrow morning,” said Piastri, who scored his first points of the season with his eighth place in the Australian Grand Prix.
“There’s couple of corners I just need to tidy up and find a bit of time in, but the car’s been working well and I think it’s probably been a better day maybe than we expected, so we’ll keep it rolling for tomorrow and see what we can do.”
Norris (1:41.281) felt he had had the pace to perhaps have finished as high as fourth in qualifying but was overall pretty satisfied with the car’s improvement.
“If you look at the Australian Grand Prix, we weren’t bad there. We’ve just added to that and maybe this track suits us a little bit more,” he said.
“We have a good chance to score some good points tomorrow and on Sunday.”
AAP (C) 2023
Despite feeling unwell, Oscar Piastri has earned a top-10 position on the grid at the Azerbaijan GP. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)