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Oscar Piastri

Piastri shoulders blame for qualifying deficit to Norris

Oscar Piatri ended qualifying from Japan in sixth place while team-mate Lando Norris succeeded in securing a top three starting position.

Piastri Japan
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Oscar Piastri has conceded that he failed to make the difference behind the wheel during qualifying in Suzuka, resulting in a sixth-place finish.

The Australian ended the session three positions down on team-mate Lando Norris, who was the fastest non-Red Bull driver.

Piastri has revealed that he struggled to extract lap time in the middle sector throughout qualifying.

At the end of Q3, Piastri found himself almost three-tenths of a second behind Norris.

“I’d say a ‘solid’ session is not the word I would use for it,” Piastri told media including RacingNews365, reflecting on his qualifying outing.

“I just struggled a bit from Q2 onwards to find the rhythm. I just struggled a bit, especially in the middle sector it seemed like.

“So [it was] not my finest of days but [I’ll] try and see what we can do [for the race].”

'There was more on the table'

Last year in Japan, Piastri qualified on the front row before securing his maiden podium with McLaren.

However, ahead of this year’s event, McLaren anticipated that it would face a stricter challenge due to gains made over the winter by its rivals.

When asked if the team’s pace was better than expected, Piastri said: “I would say yes.

“Clearly on my side, there was more on the table. We hoped it would be a strong one for us and it looks like it is genuinely a pretty strong circuit for us.

“My thoughts on Ferrari being stronger, and Aston Martin being stronger are pretty accurate I would say.

“I think compared to last year, we were pretty clear second quickest. This weekend, I would say [we are] just second quickest.

“The driver can make the difference and I didn’t. I think we've got some tight competition and I expect that to continue tomorrow as well.”

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