Norris’ F1 China sprint pole goes to "all or nothing" approach

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Norris’ F1 China sprint pole goes to "all or nothing" approach


Norris had his penultimate timed lap scrapped due to track limitations at Turn 16, but his follow-up time of 1:57.940 ultimately proved unbeatable during a wet and slippery final section of sprint qualifying. – which gave rise to multiple errors in the peloton.

This lap was also initially attributed to track limits, suspected to be the result of Norris going off in the final corner of the previous lap, but was successfully shown to have lost time early in this round and he had it reinstated. .

Norris explained that he had to continue to persevere despite the treacherous conditions, as tire temperature was key to finding purchase on a newly resurfaced Shanghai circuit.

“It was tricky,” Norris said after the session. “You’re always nervous before a session like this, especially during qualifying when you know it’s going to rain. I know I was pretty happy with how it went in the dry; I think we’ve had a good pace all weekend so far.

“So I got a little nervous, but the conditions were such that you had to take big risks, attack, increase the tire temperature, etc.

“But I was fast, I just kept catching the Ferrari, so I had to keep going backwards. I didn’t do the first two laps as well at all and I had a good last lap: good enough for pole.” So I’m happy, it’s not a good qualification, but it’s enough.

“I gave up the first two laps, so I was thinking: the last lap was all or nothing. But it’s getting wetter and wetter. So actually, the conditions for the last two laps were much worse than the second lap turn at least.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Mark Sutton

“I was a little nervous because of a few mistakes, I started hydroplaning quite a bit. But it’s a lot of fun. It gets the heart pumping. Finishing on top is exactly what we do wanted.”

Norris explained that he had “no idea” what to expect in Saturday’s sprint, especially given how little training is offered during a sprint weekend.

He felt that if it rained more, McLaren would be in a good position, but that the team had managed to focus on a decent all-weather setup, despite tentative expectations of difficulties in China.

“We did some homework this morning; we did a few laps in a row to try to figure it out, but it depends on the weather. There is still a chance of rain tomorrow.

“If it’s like that, then I think the chances are relatively good. But racing is still very different from qualifying.

“I’m sure everyone will catch up a bit tomorrow. But the pace is good whether it’s wet or dry and I think we’re in a good position. It’s a bit of a surprise, but I’m very happy that the team did a good job, the car feels good and so do I. And it’s paying off.”

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