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Saturday, December 9, 2023

57 qualifying laps made Qatar F1 “hardest race of my life”

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In a race with three obligatory tyre modifications following Pirelli reliability issues, drivers have been capable of push exhausting in every of their 4 stints fairly than having to preserve their rubber for longer.

Behind winner Max Verstappen, Piastri clinched his second consecutive podium, choosing up the place he left off after successful Saturday’s dash in what he described as a gruelling race of 57 qualifying laps.

“Undoubtedly the toughest race I’ve had in my life,” Piastri mentioned. “With the three stops, it was mainly flat out, so it was 57 qualifying laps which I positively really feel like I’ve achieved.

“A extremely good race, completely satisfied that every one tyres stayed collectively.”

Piastri began from sixth after seeing his greatest qualifying lap deleted on Friday, however at the beginning he obtained an enormous increase when Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell collided.

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A spinning Russell hindered Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc, permitting the Australian to slide by into second on the within.

Over the following 56 laps he once more proved it was the place the McLarens deserved to be on benefit. Workforce-mate Lando Norris, who had misplaced each his Q3 laps, underlined that time by transferring up from tenth to 3rd.

“Flip 1 was good,” Piastri smiled. “That was positively within the recreation plan earlier than the race! However yeah, actually spectacular tempo.”

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Photograph by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Norris felt he “most likely had the most effective tempo on the market” as he got here by the sphere, having taken the lap 5 restart in sixth after the Mercedes fratricide.

“Only a mega race from begin to end,” he added. “Good begin, good tempo all through the entire thing, most likely the most effective tempo on the market immediately, so I am completely satisfied.

“Demanding, sizzling, sweaty, somewhat bit drained, however nice job for the crew, three [podiums] in a row now.”

Norris agreed that the utmost tyre stints of 18 laps made the already bodily race on the new and excessive downforce Losail circuit even tougher.

“Yeah, I believe the three-stop made it quite a bit tougher, simply bodily, you may push much more,” he defined.

“Even the final stint you would just about push flat out so, most likely one of many hardest races I’ve achieved in a approach. But it surely’s a pleasant problem.

“And congrats to Oscar, no errors. And, after all, Max as soon as once more.”

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