Oscar Piastri suffers blow at 2023 Australian GP

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri will start the Australian Grand Prix in 16th after being knocked out of Q1 in a close fought qualifying session.

Melbourne-born Oscar Piastri had his hopes of a strong start to the Australian Grand Prix dashed when he was knocked out of qualifying in the first round, missing out by less than 0.046 seconds.

Piastri, who grew up not far from the Albert Park Circuit, will begin Sunday’s race in 16th place, just three spots behind his McLaren teammate Lando Norris, as the pair hope to score the team’s first points this season. 

Despite finding some pace in the McLaren during practice sessions, Piastri was unable to put together a strong lap during qualifying, finding himself eliminated alongside Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas, Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu.

“He’s just been on the radio, he feels the car is underbalanced. He just doesn’t have the McLaren where he wants it,” Sky Sports presenter Ted Kravitz claimed.

READ: Oscar Piastri blamed for Lando Norris’ poor start to 2023

No Australian driver has finished on the podium at the Australian Grand Prix since it joined the calendar in 1985.

That statistic is unlikely to change on Sunday given Piastri’s qualifying position, even with the field so close on pace.

READ: Oscar Piastri makes ‘crazy’ prediction about 2023 Australian Grand Prix

“It felt like a good lap but nothing amazing. We’ve said the whole season it’s so tight between the teams that are around us and I think today showed that. Just not quite quick enough,” Piastri said post-qualifying.

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“I’ll try my best of course (tomorrow), we’ll see what the overtaking’s like, I think for everyone out there it’ll be pretty difficult. It’s historically not the easiest track to overtake on. We’ll try our best and see what we can do,” he continued.

McLaren is yet to score any points in 2023, leaving them bottom of the Constructors’ Championship, while Piastri and Norris are in the bottom two spots of the Drivers’ Standings.