McLaren’s Oscar Piastri has admitted that his second-placed finish at 2023 Qatar Grand Prix was his “hardest race” in his career.
Piastri benefitted from a Turn 1 collision involving Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell which caught out Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc, with the Australia free to swoop through into second on the inside which he held to the checkered flag aside from pit stops.
The 22 year-old however had to also deal with scorching track temperatures which left him drained and needing a lie-down in the post-race cooling room, yet he felt “very, very happy” with the podium finish.
Piastri also quipped that his drive from sixth to second was within his strategy as he explained: “Turn 1 was nice. That was in the game-plan before the race. We had a really impressive pace.”
On dealing with the hot temperatures despite having driven in F2 races at hot parts of the day during 2021 season, Piastri added: “It was definitely the hardest race I’ve had in my life. It was hot and basically flat-out the entire time. It was 57 qualifying laps, which I definitely feel that I’ve done.”
The result marked Piastri’s fourth podium of the season across Sprints and Grands Prix, as well as his third consecutive podium after he won the Qatar Sprint, following his third-placed finish in Japan and he previously finished second in the Belgian Sprint in late July.
Piastri consequently thanked McLaren for providing him with a competitive car after a slow start to the season, as he said: “My thanks go to the team for providing Lando and myself with a car that means we can fight at the front more consistently.
“There were some great strategy calls today, brilliant pit-stops and despite the challenging conditions, we were able to put it all together on the day. A great day.”