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Oscar Piastri

Piastri bullish over McLaren's Imola chances despite investigation

Oscar Piastri has his equal-best qualifying position for a grand prix, banking second, although he faces an investigation by the stewards.

Piastri Verstappen Imola Quali
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Oscar Piastri is bullish over McLaren's chances of victory in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as he qualified second to Max Verstappen. 

The Australian is armed with the full upgrade package from the team this weekend at Imola, and put it to good use during qualifying as he pipped Lando Norris to a front-row berth alongside Verstappen, losing out by less than a tenth to the world champion. 

Piastri has edged Verstappen throughout the weekend, but his second place is under threat after being summoned to the stewards for impeding Kevin Magnussen during Q1 at the Tamburello chicane. 

Despite the threat of a potential grid drop, Piastri feels McLaren is in a prime position to challenge Verstappen after their strong "recent performances.

"In the past, we would have said no, but with recent performances, we've learned to say yes, so we will see what we can do," he said.

"We've definitely been on the pace all weekend, but you can never count out Max and Red Bull like we've just seen, but the confidence is high. 

"Of course, it is not the easiest track to overtake on, but the confidence is high that we can do something good."

He would ultimately lose his starting position as a result of the investigation, with the full story available here.

Piastri's lap

After the first Q3 runs, Piastri was nearly three-tenths down on Verstappen as Norris sat in second place, but a good final lap from the second-year driver saw him leapfrog his team-mate and pull the inter-team qualifying battle in grands prix back to 4-3 for the season. 

He felt it was difficult to do a "perfect lap" at the gravel-laden Imola

"It was pretty good, I had a little bit of a scruffy last corner but I think around here it's so, difficult to do a perfect lap," he explained.

"So I am really happy. I've been really comfortable with the car from the moment we put it on track yesterday and I was so, so close to pole but I'm very happy. 

"It's been a little while since I've been back up here so, I'm very happy with how this weekend's going so far."

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