Oscar Piastri has pinpointed tyre degradation and race pace as two areas he will strive to improve despite taking his maiden Formula 1 podium at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Australian excelled on his maiden visit to Suzuka, utilising McLaren’s status as the second fastest team at the high-speed circuit to marginally pip team-mate Lando Norris to a debut front-row starting berth.
Despite slipping to third when polesitter Max Verstappen pinched him on the approach down to Turn 1, Piastri regained second position when he made his first pit stop under a Virtual Safety Car period.
However, Norris rapidly reeled Piastri in and team orders from McLaren obliged the two to switch places on Lap 27. The McLaren pair remained in those positions, handing the team its first double podium in two years.
Although he admits there are some aspects he must work on, Piastri says achieving his first-ever F1 podium represents a “significant” milestone in his career.
“Yeah, it’s definitely significant, you know,” he said. “You never forget your first podium regardless of whether it’s been a strong performance or not.
“So yeah, it’ll be a special day and I won’t forget it and also ticking the first podium off the list is always a nice achievement to have.
“So yeah, definitely some things I want to try and improve on and still work on but yeah, for now I’ll enjoy the trophy. I’ve been drowned by Lando in champagne which is a nice problem to have. And yeah, try and work out how I can do better next time.”
Having abided by McLaren’s wish to allow Norris through untroubled, Piastri proceeded to slip 16s behind Norris across the remaining 26 laps of the race.
After conceding it hadn’t been his “strongest Sunday” showing, the rookie is bidding to enhance his management in race trim to match his ever-improving one-lap pace.
“Yeah, just I think the tyre management and just pace at certain points of the race was not as strong as I would have liked,” he explained. “The first stint it felt like everyone was driving extremely slowly and then when I tried to push a bit more the tyres didn’t really let me go much faster.
“So a few things to work on there and yeah, just pace overall in the races. And like I said, in these kinds of races there’s no easy way to learn apart from just going through the races and having an experience where it’s good or bad.
“So yeah, I think pace, I think the one-lap pace especially in last few weekends has been a good improvement from the start of the year but definitely, in these kinds of races, the race pace is still an area to improve.”