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Piastri “happy to see the back” of Spain after seventh

Matt Clayton
Monday, 24 June 2024

On a weekend where McLaren teammate Lando Norris took pole and challenged Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen for victory, Oscar Piastri was left scratching his head after an event of “struggle” and six points.

Thank goodness that’s over; that was the sentiment from Oscar Piastri after a Spanish Grand Prix weekend that was a “struggle” from start to finish for the McLaren driver, who finished in seventh place for his least competitive weekend since China in round five of the season.

Piastri’s weekend began brightly enough; the 23-year-old finished inside the top seven in both Friday practice sessions, but things began to unravel in qualifying on Saturday. On a day where teammate Lando Norris took his second career pole position after edging Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by 0.020secs, Piastri wasn’t even able to record a time in Q3, running wide into the gravel on final flying lap at the penultimate corner and returning to the pits with a 10th-place result, his worst qualifying of the season.


Piastri made limited progress from the fifth row, and while he finished 26 seconds ahead of a three-stopping Sergio Perez (Red Bull) in the race, he was 33.760secs behind race-winner Verstappen after 66 laps.

“The whole weekend has just been a struggle, from basically the first lap,” he said.

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“There’s been the odd lap here or there that has looked a bit more encouraging, but pretty happy to see the back of that weekend, to be honest. We need to understand why.

“[The car] was a lot more unpredictable than what I’ve been used to, I guess. Clearly the potential in the car is very strong, I was just not able to unlock it at all.

“The second half of the race, things looked a little bit more positive but when you qualify that far back, it hurts a lot the potential of what you can do on Sunday, particularly here with a track where dirty air makes such a difference.”

Piastri felt the Barcelona race – remarkably, the second Spanish Grand Prix in succession without a single retirement, yellow flag or safety car – was one that progressed in a permanent state of stasis until his final stint. He spent 21 laps on soft tyres to begin the race, then pitted for soft rubber with 20 laps to go, where his pace was more encouraging.

“I was a bit surprised everyone stopped so early in the first stint, but that was always the plan for us,” he said.

“The strategy we were on made things look a bit better – extended the first stint, extended the second stint a bit and then went onto the soft for the last stint, so that makes things look a bit better too. The odd lap here and there felt a little bit better but on the whole, it was a tough one.”

Oscar Piastri at the Spanish Grand Prix

Oscar’s Spanish Grand Prix by the numbers

  • Qualified: 10th (started 9th after Perez/Red Bull penalty)
  • Race: 7th
  • Fastest lap: 1min 17.874secs (5th), lap 56
  • Points this event: 6
  • Points this season: 87 (6th in world championship)