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Australian Formula 1 prodigy Oscar Piastri will start the Las Vegas Grand Prix 19th after having a terrible qualifying run on Saturday night (AEDT).
The McLaren young gun was second on the timesheets in practice three but flopped in qualifying one, failing to advance after only managing a fastest lap of 1:35.068.
The overwhelming consensus is Ferrari was robbed of a front-row lock-out after Charles Leclerc took pole and Carlos Sainz clocked the second-quickest lap. Despite doing that, Sainz will start 12th on Sunday night (AEDT) due to the 10-place grid penalty he automatically triggered after being cruelled by a loose drain cover on the opening night.
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Three-time world champion Max Verstappen will start second in his Red Bull, while Mercedes’ George Russell snagged third on the grid.
It was a sorrowful night for both Australians as Daniel Ricciardo only managed to qualify 15th in his newly adopted AlphaTauri.
Piastri was clearly frustrated as he spoke with Formula 1 TV after his qualifying run.
“Earlier tonight the pace in P3 [practice three] was good. The tyres were in a good place. The pace at the start of qualifying was good,” Piastri said.
“I don’t know if we were one of the only ones to not use two sets of tyres. If we were I think that probably explains it a lot, because [over] the first few laps we were in the top five more or less. So I don’t think it was really an issue with pace; just [the] run plan maybe wasn’t what it should have been.”
The 22-year-old laughed about avoiding the Las Vegas nightlife while preparing to start a long way back on the grid.
“Well, I’m not going to go to the casino and hopefully all the luck comes out tomorrow,” Piastri said with a grin.
“There’s a lot of long straights, tight corners. The tyres are very difficult to get in the window, so maybe that’ll catch some people out.
“We’ll try our best.”