Oscar Piastri says that it will be “tricky” to stay in a points-paying position during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The Australian rookie is eyeing his first career points in Formula 1 after advancing into Q3 and ending the session in ninth place, ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly.
However, with Charles Leclerc being issued a 10-place grid drop, Piastri is promoted to eighth place for the start.
Piastri endured a difficult debut in Bahrain as an issue forced him to retire just a handful of laps into the race.
For his second outing, he is hopeful of walking away with his first career points in his back pocket.
“They’re definitely on offer,” Piastri said. “It’ll be tricky. I think this result probably wasn’t that expected to be completely honest.
“Our race pace we thought was better than our qualifying pace, we’ll see if that’s true tomorrow.
“Our straight-line speed is not exactly our strength, we’ll see how that goes. But I’m confident I can try and fight for the points.”
Reflecting on his qualifying performance, Piastri said: “It felt good, I think we were in a pretty good spot in FP3 with the balance and it transferred to qualifying as well, which was nice.
“I’m feeling a little bit better than yesterday. Also, I’m just getting more confidence with the car as well and getting up to speed around Jeddah.
“All felt good, I put in some good laps and here we are.”
Another force that Piastri will likely have to contend with during the race is Max Verstappen, who is lining up in 15th after suffering a drive shaft failure during Q2.
With the reigning World Champion possessing what is notably the fastest car in the field, Piastri says that he won’t offer the Dutchman a challenge if they find themselves side-by-side.
“I don’t think there’s much point trying to take him on when they’re so much quicker,” Piastri said.
“For us, [we’re[ just trying to minimise the time loss and run our own race. We’re not going to be fighting for the win tomorrow, we’ll be fighting to get a couple of points if we can.
“Just try to do our race and try minis the time loss for when he inevitably comes through.”