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Oscar Piastri

Red Bull's advantage smaller than first feared

Oscar Piastri was happy with McLaren's performance last weekend in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, although Red Bull remain the side to beat.

Piastri Bahrain Race
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Oscar Piastri believes the gap between Red Bull and the chasing pack is smaller than it was 12 months ago despite Max Verstappen's dominant Bahrain Grand Prix victory.

The big talking point ahead of the 2024 season was whether Red Bull with the RB20 would be untouchable, a question which was partially answered in qualifying in Bahrain. Whilst it was Max Verstappen on pole, Ferrari were in genuine contention.

When asked whether he felt the advantage held by the Milton Keynes-based outfit had matched that of a year ago, Piastri told media including RacingNews365: "No, I think it was a bit more realistic to what we expected to be honest.

"I think they look in a pretty similar place to last year, similar kind of gap and so not a massive surprise, to be honest.

"And the races last year, they're always quicker than they were in qualifying. But maybe still not quite as far ahead as we first feared at the start of testing. But still, you know, a long way ahead."

Red Bull's performance 'expected'

McLaren was with the leading group of cars in Bahrain to carry momentum from the end of last year, where the team was amongst Ferrari and Mercedes in the battle for best of the rest.

Having matched Mercedes for pace in the season opener, Piastri said: "I think not a bad way to start the year compared to last year, we will definitely take it.

"So I think the pace was more or less how I thought it would pan out, where things were very close with Mercedes, Ferrari seem a step ahead, Red Bull a clear step ahead. But yeah, honestly, not a bad way to start the year.

"We'll see what the next few circuits have in store for us, some quicker layouts and very different tarmac. So we'll see if that suits us better or worse, hopefully better. But yeah, not a bad way to start the year and I feel like on a personal note, it was a decent race. So yeah, I'm pretty pleased."

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