Oscar Piastri thrilled with first P1 as Lando Norris rues ‘another bad job’ in Shootout

Henry Valantine
Oscar Piastri celebrates Sprint pole in Qatar.

Oscar Piastri celebrates Sprint pole in Qatar.

Oscar Piastri was “very, very happy” to earn his first P1 start in Formula 1, but even though he’ll be joined on the front row by his team-mate, Lando Norris felt he did “another bad job” in the Sprint Shootout.

The McLaren drivers locked out the front row after beating Max Verstappen in SQ3 on Saturday, and Norris had been the quicker of the two before running wide at the final corner, with Piastri earning his first P1 starting slot in his rookie season.

While the young Australian was thrilled with his work, Norris was left wondering what might have been – believing he was good enough for pole on both Friday and Saturday.

Oscar Piastri reacts to maiden ‘pole’ after Sprint Shootout

Piastri clocked an excellent lap to take his first P1 start, and after having his lap time deleted after conducting his post-qualifying interview after going third quickest on Friday, he needed a moment to take in whether or not he had secured the position.

“Yeah, very very happy – I might just give the FIA five minutes first to make sure I’m actually on pole!” Piastri joked after securing his pole position.

“But as long as that’s okay, then [I’m] very, very happy. It was a pretty good lap, I saw Lando on the big screen made a mistake at the last corner so I don’t know what his lap was looking like, but very, very happy.”

The Lusail International Circuit underwent tweaks at Turns 12 and 13 to bring in the track limits by 80cm to try and limit the amount of kerb running the drivers can do, with Pirelli finding damage to tyres when they complete longer stints.

With a 10-minute session added for the drivers to be able to get their eyes in before the session, Piastri said it does change how they have to drive that part of the track.

“Yeah, it changes it a bit,” he said. “I think also because it’s a painted curve, it’s impossible to know where it is. We can’t see it.

“So yeah, it makes things a bit more difficult but obviously it’s the same for everyone.

“I think I struggled quite a bit in the first two parts of that qualifying and then got my act together a bit more for the last one. So, very happy and great work from the team.”

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As for Norris, he had gone quick enough for a place on the front row on Friday, but ran wide at the final corner having been quick enough for Sprint pole up to that point on his final flying lap on Saturday.

While he expressed his happiness for his team-mate in a magnanimous moment afterwards, the Briton explained that he felt fast enough to start from the very front in both qualifying sessions in Qatar so far.

“I’m happy for the team, happy for Oscar, but I did another bad job today,” Norris admitted after the session.

“I don’t know what I’m going to say, I’m just not happy, I’m not doing a very good job. Yeah, should have been pole yesterday, should have been pole today, but I’m not.”

When pushed for why he feels he may not be doing the job he feels he is capable of, Norris added: “Just mistakes, not putting the lap together when I need to.

“Easily quick enough for pole, I just didn’t put it together at all but Oscar did a good job.

“Max has done a good job again, so [it’s] frustrating. The car’s quick enough, the team is doing an excellent job, but I’m just not delivering on what I need to do, so of course I’m not going to be happy with myself.”

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