Australian F1 rookie Oscar Piastri, alongside teammate Lando Norris, have powered McLaren to their best qualifying result of the season at the British GP. Norris and Piastri will line up second and third on the grid respectively, a remarkable turnaround from the team's distinct lack of competitiveness at the beginning of the season.
Qualifying was affected by wet weather, however the track had dried enough for all drivers to fit dry tyres as a clear racing line emerged. Not since the 2008 season in which Lewis Hamilton won his first world championship driving for McLaren has the team started on the front row at Silverstone.
Piastri was very nearly knocked out in Q1, before the car he described as a 'rocket ship' came alive in Q2 and Q3. It was a brilliant performance from the F1 rookie, whose solid debut season has all too often been spoiled by sheer bad luck.
Predictably, reigning world champion Max Verstappen took pole position, but even he was impressed by McLaren's newfound turn of pace. Piastri out-qualified both the Ferrari's of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, as well as Mercedes duo Hamilton and George Russell.
“What a qualifying session!” Piastri said. “We were almost out in Q1! But the car was a rocket ship in Q2 and Q3 and it felt like I put a pretty good lap together.
“It’s a massive result for the team as well. To have both of us up here is a mega result and we have got to try and stay there for tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Aussie F1 fans waking up to the stunning qualifying results were thrilled to see Piastri's name so high on the grid. Piastri has performed consistently, if not spectacularly, after joining the F1 ranks following championship victories in F3 and F2.
I’m so pumped both McLaren cars are in the top three that’s just great. Landos Norris is one of my favourites and Oscar Piastri has been the best rookie by a mile this season. I really hope they both finish in big points tomorrow.
— RBMV#1FAN (@JamesBuickRBMV) July 8, 2023
no one can understand my happiness rn. My life will be complete once he gets a podium, but p3 is an absolutely outstanding quali. I’m so so proud of this man, he deserves it more than anything in life 🧡🧡 @OscarPiastri you are amazing to support, will always stand with you⭐️ https://t.co/21E4sptu3t
— alyssa🧡🧡🐨 OP81 enthusiast. (@alyssabarhamm) July 8, 2023
— Phinsider (@thenrlphinsider) July 8, 2023
@OscarPiastri or also known as rookie of 2023 : WHAT A QUALI 🤩 INCREDIBLE P3 AND SECOND START ROW FOR SILVERSTONE IS INCREDIBLE💪🏽🥳 wishing you tons of luck for tomorrow's race 🏼
— alina²¹🤍 (@formulaalina) July 8, 2023
Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri P2 and P3 is DAMN impressive. Well done @McLarenF1. Hopefully they can roll that momentum in to Sunday.
— Josh (ISO Eras Seattle 7/22 or 7/23 tix) (@Josh_Dyno) July 8, 2023
Lando Norris hoping for strong McLaren result at British GP
Norris, who competed against Verstappen throughout both of their junior careers, quipped that Verstappen 'ruins everything' after the Dutchman stole pole position from him very late in the piece. Regardless, the British driver said it was clear McLaren had taken a step forward in terms of pace.
“I was so close,” he said. “Max ruins everything for everyone.
“I was watching the TV screens and I was surprised how long I stayed up there for. I did not make a mistake. It was all about when Max crossed the line and if he made a mistake, not if we could beat him.
“I could hear Zak on the radio during the in-lap, which was the best thing ever. To be second and third was amazing for the whole team.
“It is clear we have made some progress and we have made a decent step forward. It is payback for the work that has been done by the team.
"Max and I are very good friends. We grew up at a similar time, and we share the same mentality because we love it.
“But as soon as we put the helmet on, all the respect we have off the track, we forget that. It makes no difference about us being friends.”
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