‘Nervous’ moment that threatened Piastri podium

‘Nervous’ moment that threatened Piastri podium

With his maiden podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix, Oscar Piastri has become the first rookie driver to stand on the dais in six years.

Piastri qualified in second position to start the race on the front row alongside eventual-winner Max Verstappen, but was quickly passed by McLaren teammate Lando Norris after Verstappen angled right to cover off the Melburnian.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Piastri admitted he was a bit keen at the start.

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Third-placed Oscar Piastri celebrates on the podium following the Japanese Grand Prix. (Mark Thompson via Getty Images)

“I got a really good launch and then, in all honesty, I got a bit excited with the throttle pedal and the second phase I just had far too much wheel spin and that’s where I kind of lost that ground to Max again and Lando clearly had the best start of the three of us by a fair bit,” he said post-race.

“[I] tried my best and then it was pretty tight anyway, I wasn’t far enough alongside and realistically even if I got in front of Max it wouldn’t have been for long. I’m just happy I managed to settle into third and in the end that was all the pace we had for the day.”

While ceding second place, Piastri later repassed Norris after getting a jump on a pit stop before a virtual safety car was announced.

“I knew the VSC had come out. I had no idea what had happened so I was praying it didn’t go to a full safety car,” Piastri said.

“But a very good move from the team to do that. A little bit nervous at one point but overall a very good move.”

In July’s British Grand Prix, Piastri was cruelly denied a podium finish after an ill-timed safety car caused him to be leap-frogged in the pit stop sequence.

Oscar Piastri on track during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka International Racing Course. (Clive Rose via Getty Images)

With Piastri struggling for pace in the middle part of the race, McLaren ultimately decided to reverse the order on track and release Norris.

“I think we did everything very sensibly,” Piastri said of the team order.

“I think clearly I didn’t have the same pace as Lando… some things to work on in terms of race pace for me but these kind of high-deg [degradation] races are the main focus and it’s very hard to improve on them without actually doing the races.

“[I’m] trying to learn as much as I can but for now I’ll enjoy the podium.”

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