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Formula 1 United States GP

Piastri: McLaren won’t be as fast at COTA as at previous F1 races

Oscar Piastri expects that his McLaren Formula 1 team won’t be as competitive at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix as it was at the previous two venues in Japan and Qatar.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren

Both McLaren drivers finished on the podium at Suzuka and Losail, while Piastri also took the sprint pole, which he converted into a win at the latter venue.

However, the Australian, who learned the COTA track when he tested an Alpine early last year, believes that the bumps and slow corners won’t favour the MCL60.

"It's my second time, I've been here before, but not raced here,” he said when asked about the track. “It's a really cool circuit. A lot of different types of corners, a lot of elevation change, which is cool as well.

“But we'll see how competitive we can be. I don't think it'll be quite as good as the last couple of weekends. But hopefully we're still in the mix."

He clarified that he meant that the team wouldn’t comfortably lead the chase of Red Bull, as it did at the previous races.

"I think when I say we might not be as good as the last couple of weekends, I'm hoping that kind of means we're in the fight with Ferrari and Mercedes.

“I've seen Mercedes have got some upgrades. So we'll see what their performance is like. But I think the last couple of weekends, though Mercedes were quick in Qatar, we were probably second quickest behind Red Bull.

“And this weekend, I don't think we will be, or if we are, it’ll be a lot closer with Ferrari and Mercedes."

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 1st position, Lando Norris, McLaren, 3rd position, talk in Parc Ferme after the Sprint race

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 1st position, Lando Norris, McLaren, 3rd position, talk in Parc Ferme after the Sprint race

Elaborating on why he thought the circuit won’t be kind to McLaren, he said: “Qatar was a very smooth track, but also had a lot of fast corners, and really no slow corners, which is good news for us.

“Here I think the bumps won't be our friend in particular. I mean, it's never anyone's friend! But I think we might suffer a bit with that.

“Also, just there's a lot more slow corners here than say, Qatar in particular, and even Japan. So I think that doesn't help either. It's both those two factors.”

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Norris echoed Piastri’s views on the potential of the car at COTA.

“Not so confident,” he said when asked about prospects for the weekend. “Just a lot more slow speed corners, which is not our strength. I think it's tough when you look at it.

“We know on these types of circuits, Mercedes is going to be very strong, Ferrari is going to be very strong, Aston here in the past have been very strong.

“When we went to Qatar it was going to be a track which really suited us, a lot of medium/high speed which is where we're very strong and almost on par with Red Bull. Less of that here, and a lot more slow speed, so I'm definitely not as confident.

“I'm not saying it's going to be a bad weekend. I think we can still fight. It's just going to be a much bigger fight, I think.”

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