Saturday, April 20, 2024

Oscar Piastri: “I’ll be hoping to build on the momentum from Australia”

Oscar Piastri arrives at the Baku City Circuit looking to build on his positive Australian Grand Prix weekend where he secured his first top ten finish of his FIA Formula 1 World Championship career.

The McLaren F1 Team driver stayed out of trouble and avoided the chaos around him to finish eighth to score four important points having missed out on the top ten in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Piastri says he feels rested after the enforced break after the race at Albert Park, and having previous experience around the Azerbaijan Grand Prix circuit should help him, even if there is only one free practice before Qualifying gets underway on Friday afternoon.

“I’m excited to go racing in Baku and I feel rested and ready after the three-week break,” said Piastri.  “I’ve raced here previously in Formula 2 and it’s a cool circuit with the backdrop of the city and the castle.

“It’s a tricky circuit to get right from a car set-up perspective, given the long straight at the end of the lap, combined with the tighter sections of the track. We’ve been doing a lot of work in the simulator to ensure we hit the ground running on Friday, especially given the Sprint format, which I’m looking forward to taking on for the first time in Formula 1.

“I’ll be hoping to build on the momentum from Australia where I achieved my first-ever F1 points. We still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go so I’ll keep my head down and keep working hard.”

“It’s been a productive three weeks off” – Lando Norris

Team-mate Lando Norris also broke into the top ten for the first time in 2023 in Australia, the British racer also avoiding the crashes down under to take sixth place.

Norris feels the break since has been productive as they’ve been working within the simulator whilst also getting some much needed rest, but his hopes are to again avoid making mistakes and taking any opportunities that present themselves to them.

“I’m looking forward to Baku and to go racing again,” Norris said. “It’s been a productive three weeks off with sim work and analysis with my engineers but also taking time to rest and reset ahead of a busy few races.

“I’m also excited that we’re at another street circuit and trying out the new sprint format. It will be interesting to see how it works and hopefully it will make good viewing for the fans. The track is narrow so it’s as important as ever to be on it as there are lots of opportunities for mistakes.

“This is even more important as we optimise and learn everything we can about the new parts we’re bringing to the track this weekend. Let’s get back to it.”

Lando Norris has high hopes of points this weekend in Azerbaijan – Credit: McLaren F1 Team