Charles Leclerc praises Oscar Piastri in Saudi Arabia

Oscar Piastri will start the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from P8 following his impressive qualifying performance.

Oscar Piastri’s Formula 1 debut did not go as he would have hoped in Bahrain, especially after all of the drama and hype leading to his first race for McLaren.

The Australian was eliminated in Q1 and was then forced to retire from the race after 13 laps with a technical issue, with his teammate Lando Norris also being forced to retire later in the race.

Piastri has quickly proved any doubters wrong in Saudi Arabia however, with the 21-year-old putting on a stunning show in qualifying.

While a mistake saw Norris eliminated in Q1, Piastri made it all the way to Q3, where he set the ninth fastest time in an MCL60 that barely looks capable of scoring points so far this season.

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Following Charles Leclerc’s ten-place grid penalty for changing too many engine components, Piastri will start in P8 and he has now been praised by his Monegasque counterpart.

“It’s impressive,” he told Speedcafe when asked about Piastri’s qualifying.

“Especially after a year off and [this is his] second race, in a street track, in a very challenging one – probably one of the most challenging of the season.

“To see him have such a performance is great, however, it’s not really a surprise with what he has shown in the past.

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“I was pretty sure he was extremely talented and he showed that today.”

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit allows no room for error and Piastri managed to extract the absolute maximum from his McLaren in qualifying.

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The Australian will be hoping that his MCL60 will be more reliable this weekend and with the help of a good strategy, Piastri will be hoping to score his first points in Formula 1.

With Lando Norris starting in P19, McLaren’s hopes of scoring their first points of the season pretty much rely on Piastri being able to carry his impressive form from qualifying into the race.

Tipped as a star of the future, Piastri will be hoping that Jeddah will be the start of an successful spell with McLaren.