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Oscar Piastri

Piastri in 'perfect' position to emuluate Senna Prost Suzuka collision

The McLaren driver had a flashback to Suzuka's most infamous moment after his launch from second on the grid.

Verstappen Norris Piastri race start Japan
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To news overview © XPBimages

Oscar Piastri felt he was in the "perfect position" to emulate the famous Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost collision at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.

From second, Piastri looked up the inside of pole-sitter Max Verstappen at the fast right-hander of Suzuka's Turn 1, but backed out of the move, and allowing team-mate Lando Norris also through.

The trio would finish in that order as McLaren claimed its first double podium of the season and Piastri his first rostrum visit in Grand Prix racing - but admitted he was in the best possible position to repeat the 1990 collision between fierce title rivals Senna and Prost.

Senna was aggrieved that pole position was not on the left-hand side of the track as the driver viewed it, with Prost being given that advantage and the racing line.

Senna sprinted away, but Prost took the lead and the advantage, with Senna trying to go through on the inside.

What then happened was predictable as the two collided with Prost's failure to finish handing Senna the world title.

It was only later that Senna admitted it was on purpose after the controversial 1989 decider at Suzuka, when Prost firmly shut the door on the sister McLaren at the chicane.

Senna 'won' but was disqualified for receiving a push start from marshals and cutting the chicane amid a period of high tensions with FISA boss Jean-Marie Balestre, who he felt favoured countryman Prost.

Piastri had Senna Prost flashback

"Well, looking back on it now, I was in the perfect position to emulate Senna and Prost, like, literally perfect. It's true," Piastri told media including RacingNews365.

"But no, I saw I got a good launch, got a bit too excited on the throttle pedal in the second part of the start and at that point I knew I wasn't far enough alongside Max.

"I could see Lando was coming around the outside. So yeah, I think settling for third was definitely the safest option at that point.

"I just wasn't quick enough at certain points of the race, I think.

"These high-deg races are probably the biggest thing I need to try and work on at the moment. I think it's still quite fresh for me, obviously.

"In all the junior racing before this, there are no races like this.

"So the only way you can learn from it is by just doing the races, so, there are definitely a few things, had I had this race again, that I would have done a bit different.

"But that's all part of the learning. I'm excited to know that we can finish on the podium, even if I feel like there's more to come."

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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