McLaren can hope to win at Imola - Piastri

rugby18 May 2024 16:46| © Reuters
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Oscar Piastri © Gallo Images

McLaren can hope to win Sunday's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Australian Oscar Piastri said on Saturday after qualifying on the front row alongside Red Bull's triple world champion Max Verstappen.

The 23-year-old was later handed a three-place grid drop for impeding but teammate Lando Norris, winner last time out in Miami, moved up to take his place.

Pole-sitter Verstappen has won four of the six races this year but McLaren appear to be catching up and were one-two in final practice at Imola.

"I think yes," Piastri said when asked, before the stewards penalised him, whether he could challenge Verstappen.

"Normally, in the past we’d say no but I think with our recent performances, we’ve learned to say yes. So we’ll see what we can do.

"We’ve definitely been on the pace all weekend. You can never count out Max and Red Bull, of course, like we’ve just seen, but I think the confidence is high."

Norris said it would be "excitingly close" and cautioned that Imola was a tough circuit to overtake on.

McLaren have a strong record at the Italian track, dating back to the days when the late Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna was racing for them.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen's teammate and closest championship rival, will start 11th on Sunday.