Oscar Piastri outqualified teammate Lando Norris for the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, but admitted he still needed to work on improving his race pace.
In just his 16th Formula 1 race, Piastri managed to put his McLaren on the front row of the starting grid for the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, outqualifying his highly-rated teammate Lando Norris.
But in the race, Norris had the upper hand, overtaking the rookie on the first lap and they both fought with Max Verstappen for the lead, after which Piastri did not have the pace to regain his second place despite trying to do so through the pit stops.
In the end, Piastri cut a calm figure after finishing the race third, achieving his first ever F1 career podium, and admitted his race was not the best.
But that doesn’t mean the podium is not important for him, he said: “It’s definitely significant, you know. You never forget your first podium regardless of whether it’s been a strong performance or not.
Good to tick off the first podium, but still work to be done
“So, it’ll be a special day and I won’t forget it and also ticking the first podium off the list is always a nice achievement to have. So, definitely some things I want to try and improve on and still work on but yeah, for now I’ll enjoy the trophy.
“I’ve been drowned by Lando in champagne which is a nice problem to have,” Piastri joked. “And, try and work out how I can do better next time.”
Asked what he thinks he should be doing better, the Australian responded: “I think the tyre management and just pace at certain points of the race was not as strong as I would have liked.
“The first stint it felt like everyone was driving extremely slowly and then when I tried to push a bit more the tyres didn’t really let me go much faster. So a few things to work on there and yeah, just pace overall in the races.
“In these kinds of races there’s no easy way to learn apart from just going through the races and having an experience where it’s good or bad. So, I think pace, I think the one lap pace especially in last few weekends has been a good improvement from the start of the year,” he explained.
“But definitely, in these kinds of races, the race pace is still an area to improve,” Piastri concluded.
Piastri had the updated McLaren MCL60 at his disposal at Suzuka, an upgrade which was given to Norris one race earlier in Singapore.