Oscar Piastri capped off a special week that included a contract extension and first front-row start with his maiden podium at the Japanese Grand Prix.

On Wednesday McLaren announced a new deal for Piastri that keeps him with the team until the end of the 2026 season, and then on Saturday he secured his first top-two qualifying result for a gr and prix, having only previously started a Sprint from the front row. A solid run to third gave the Australian rookie his first podium, although he feels he didn’t deliver his best race performance.

“It’s definitely been a pretty special week with the announcement of the extension and then qualifying on the front row yesterday, first podium today,” Piastri said. “It’s been a very fun week. still a lot to learn and try and improve on, but I’ll enjoy the moment for now.

“To get the first one, I don’t think it really matters where, It’s always going to be special. I think for myself, it probably wasn’t my strongest Sunday, so from that side of things, there are still a few things I want to work on.

“To get the first podium on pace as well is a very exciting moment.”

Piastri says a race like Suzuka – where only one car one-stopped due to high levels of degradation – will also prove to be good experience for him moving forwards.

“I just wasn’t quick enough at certain points of the race. These high deg races are probably the biggest thing I need to try and work on at the moment. I think it’s still quite fresh for me, obviously in all the junior racing before, there’s no races like this, so the only way you can learn is by doing the races.

“Had I done this race again, I’d have done it a bit different, but that’s all part of the learning. exciting to know we can finish on the podium even if I feel there’s more to come.”

Teammate Lando Norris finished second for the second race in a row as McLaren picked up its first double-podium of the year, and he says the result is a sweet one because of the team’s outright performance.

“From the team’s side of things, yes, I’m much happier” Norris said. “Our first one (double podium) since Monza a few years ago. But in a way, our most deserved in terms of we’re there on pure pace. Nothing had to go our way, we’re just where we deserved to be.

“An incredible day for everyone, but also for myself. Things went maybe not always to plan, but the pace was extremely strong.

“I couldn’t challenge Max (Verstappen), I got into the lead for maybe half a second, so I’ll take that. In a way it feels better because the pace feels stronger, I could push. We were where we deserved to be. So a good job by the whole team to execute a perfect race.”