Norris snatches pole from Verstappen in Spain

Lando Norris snatched pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix from championship leader Max Verstappen by a tiny margin of 0.02 seconds on his final Q3 run to take his second career pole.

Verstappen looked set for his eighth pole of the 2024 season after setting a time of one minute, 11.673 seconds on his first flying lap to make a statement and following that upped the pace with a time of one minute, 11.403 seconds on his last effort thanks to a slipstream from teammate Sergio Perez.

His first effort had already proved unbeatable for the respective Ferrari and Mercedes duos, as qualifying was very competitive, and yet Norris delivered at the final moment to beat Verstappen.

“It was pretty much a perfect lap. It was so close, still, but I’m super happy. One of my best pole positions, not that I’ve had many! But it was just about getting a perfect lap, and that’s what we did,” said Norris.

“We’ve been quick the last two months, since Miami we’ve been strong. We’ve probably missed out on pole just by not having the perfect lap, but we did it today.

“[Winning] is our target, but it’s going to be tough against Max, against Lewis. But we’re here to win now.”

The Silver Arrows locked out the second row, as Lewis Hamilton outqualified George Russell by just 0.002 seconds to claim third position, displacing the Ferraris.

Charles Leclerc was fifth-fastest by 0.005 seconds over Carlos Sainz, while Pierre Gasly took a surprise seventh on the grid in a weekend Alpine expected to struggle.

Perez took eighth, which becomes P11 with the application of a grid penalty collected in Montreal, as Esteban Ocon and Oscar Piastri completed the top ten.

The McLaren driver was stranded in P10 as he was unable to set a time in Q3, aborting his only lap after understeering out of Turn 13 and clipping the gravel on the exit.

Fernando Alonso could not break into Q3 at his home race, despite improving on his final lap. The double world champion was initially P14 before he crossed the line, but this only lifted him up to P11.

Alonso thus starts Sunday’s race against Valtteri Bottas, who was P12 for Sauber.

Nico Hulkenberg also fell into the bottom five late on in Q2, joining Lance Stroll and Zhou Guanyu as the remainder of the drivers who failed to progress into the top ten shootout.

Kevin Magnussen was pushed into the drop zone at the end of Q1 by teammate Hulkenberg, as the Haas driver improved late on into the session to break into the next phase of qualifying.

Magnussen had managed to get free of the bottom five on his own final flying lap, but a series of late improvements ensured that he started to tumble down the order once more. In the end it became P16.

The RBs of Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo were both knocked out despite a series of new upgrades to the car, becoming victims of a tightly compressed field as they fell under a second shy of Hamilton’s Q1 benchmark.

Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant locked out the back row of the grid for Williams, as Albon attempted to run off-peak with his second Q1 effort and got up to P12, but dropped back as others improved.

So a very close contest in qualifying with Lando Norris coming out on top for McLaren. This is his second career pole following on from Russia in 2021. It will be interesting if Lando can go for his second victory on race day.

Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Lando Norris McLaren 1:11.383
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:11.403
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.701
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:11.703
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:11.731
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:11.736
7 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:11.857
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:12.125
9 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:12.011
10 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:12.128
11 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:12.061*
12 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:12.227
13 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:12.310
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:12.372
15 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:12.738
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:12.937
17 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:12.985
18 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:13.075
19 Alexander Albon Williams 1:13.153
20 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:13.509
*Three-place grid penalty for dropping debris around the track at Montreal

4 thoughts to “Norris snatches pole from Verstappen in Spain”

  1. McLaren driver Lando Norris secured the second pole position of his Formula 1 career after coming out on top in an epic battle with Red Bull rival Max Verstappen during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Norris, who was last on pole at the Sochi Autodrom back in 2021, had trailed Verstappen after the opening Q3 runs, but produced a stunning final lap of 1m 11.383s to outpace the Dutchman by two hundredths of a second.

    Mercedes converted their encouraging practice pace into a competitive qualifying display, with Lewis Hamilton managing to turn the tables on team mate George Russell as they took P3 and P4 on the grid for Sunday’s race.

    Charles Leclerc and home favourite Carlos Sainz had to settle for fifth and sixth in what was another tight session around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while Pierre Gasly starred en route to seventh for Alpine.

    Sergio Perez was eighth in his Red Bull, but will drop three places on the grid with his penalty from Canada, promoting the other Alpine of Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who had a scruffy Q3 and failed to log a time.

  2. Pole-winning McLaren driver Norris reckons a gaggle of Formula 1 rivals could win Sunday’s race at Barcelona.

    Lando Norris reckons eight drivers have the potential to win Formula 1’s 2024 Spanish Grand Prix, after a close qualifying fight where he pipped Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to pole.

    McLaren driver Norris took his second F1 career pole with a 1m11.383s at the end of Q3 at Barcelona, which put him 0.020s clear of Verstappen.

    Lewis Hamilton finished 0.318s back for Mercedes, with the rest of the top six covered by a further 0.035s.

    “I’m excited,” Norris said in the post-qualifying press conference. “It’s a long run down to Turn 1 so it’s one of the places you don’t want to start on pole. But it’s an opportunity for us to go out and try and win a race.

    “We’ve not done loads of long running. We’ve done a bit and I think we were close – as it always has been.

    “So, I think tomorrow is not like ‘this car or this car is way quicker’, I think between Mercedes, ourselves, Red Bull, Ferrari there’s eight cars that probably could’ve been on pole today and have a chance of probably winning the race tomorrow.

    “So, it’s about making the least mistakes. Similar to today – just about executing another good race that we normally.”

  3. Ferrari’s failure to tame porpoising issues blamed for struggles at Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix.

    Carlos Sainz thinks bouncing in the high-speed corners is what has derailed Ferrari’s prospects at Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix.

    The Spaniard and team-mate Charles Leclerc had hoped to be in the fight for pole position at Barcelona but ended up on the third row as McLaren’s Lando Norris beat Max Verstappen to the top spot, with both Mercedes right behind them.

    While Ferrari had hoped a major new upgrade package would deliver a step forward, Sainz thinks that the prospects of the squad were ultimately wrecked by its failure to get on top of high-speed porpoising.

    “We’ve been struggling all weekend with the high-speed corners,” he said. “We still have this phenomenon, bouncing phenomenon, that gives us a very tough time in the high-speed corners.

    “Probably this is also killing a bit the tyre for the third sector. I don’t know.

    “But still the third year of these regulations [and] I’m fighting this porpoising in high-speed corners when you put lateral load in the car. And it’s been tough all weekend to try and get rid of it. And still we haven’t managed to get rid of it.

    “We come to this track, and you can see McLaren and Red Bull with zero bouncing, and I think they’re doing a good job.”

  4. Before both Mercedes drivers qualified on the second row for Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix, Russell voiced his frustration on the radio with team-mate Hamilton.

    George Russell has explained his frustration over team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s outlap in Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying, explaining both Mercedes drivers were angling for the same slipstream.

    On the first of two runs in the final Q3 shoot-out, Russell was behind Hamilton on their preparation laps as they were kept abreast of Alpine driver Esteban Ocon closing in on his flyer.

    Russell was careful not to impede Ocon in the final sector but ensured he would catch the Alpine’s draft as he turned onto Barcelona’s long main straight, which would yield a valuable top-speed benefit.

    But ahead of him, Hamilton had the same idea, leaving it late to let Ocon pass without compromising his exit speed through the final corner too much.

    After focusing on his run, Russell vented his frustration on the team radio, saying: “What the f*** was Lewis doing prepping that lap?”

    “I was just focusing on my mirrors not to impede Ocon and next time I looked it up Lewis was right in front of me trying to take the tow from Ocon.

    “Obviously, we’re in the moment and when you’re trying to get everything [right], you’re a bit hotheaded. But nothing gained, nothing lost and there was nothing more to it.”

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