Oscar Piastri has conceded it is “so easy” to make a mistake in Qatar due to the low-grip conditions of the Lusail International Circuit.
Just one practice session preceded qualifying on Friday, with Formula 1 adopting the sprint format for the weekend.
The track surface was layered in sand from the surrounding area, which drivers spent the opening portion of FP1 attempting to dislodge, with the Lusail track also having been completely resurfaced since 2021.
Matters are not helped by the lack of support series, with none of the usual Formula 2, Formula 3 or Porsche Supercup taking place.
On his final push lap in Q3, Piastri overstepped track limits, and like team-mate Lando Norris, had his lap time deleted which was fourth-quickest.
Having been promoted to third place following Norris' penalty, he too was booted from the top three and is now set to start the Qatar Grand Prix from sixth on the grid with Lewis Hamilton the main beneficiary, jumping from fifth to third.
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Piastri eying opportunities
While he is aiming to recover during the race, Piastri says Saturady's Sprint Shootout and sprint race will offer more opportunities for McLaren.
“Obviously a shame [to lose my lap[ but the car felt reasonable,” Piastri said.
“I just pushed too hard on the last lap, which is a shame.
“We'll be able to get another crack at it tomorrow with qualifying and then the sprint too.
“We'll see what we can do. I think it's very tight and it's so easy to make a mistake, the track is very slippery, so it's not making things easy for us.
“Obviously, it's a shame that we're a bit further back now for the main race where the main points are, but there’s definitely points up for grabs tomorrow.“