Norris beats Hamilton and Alonso to take sprint pole for Chinese Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP China, Shanghai International Ciruitcn

McLaren driver Lando Norris secured pole position for the sprint race at the Chinese Grand Prix, beating Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso.

After the first segment and the opening part of the second session of the sprint shooutout took place in stable and dry conditions, rain started to fall in the dying stages of SQ3. Conditions did not improve for the last segment meaning that drivers were forced to mastered the tricky conditions on Pirelli's intermediate tyres.

It was Lando Norris to come out on top of the session, taking the first sprint pole of his career. The McLaren driver initially saw his lap time deleted for track limits, only for it to be dramatically reinstated, securing him pole.

Reflecting on the achievement post-session, Norris said: “I’m extremely happy, first of all. A big thanks to the whole team. It was tricky, you’re always nervous going into a session like this, especially for quali when you almost know it’s going to rain.

“I was quite happy with how it was in the dry, I think we’ve had good pace all weekend so far. I got a bit nervous. They’re conditions where you’ve just got to risk a lot, you’ve got to push, build tyre temperature and so forth. I was quick, I just kept catching a Ferrari, so I had to keep backing off. I didn’t do the first two laps well at all, but I got a good final one, a good enough one for pole. I’m happy… sad it’s not for a proper qualifying, but it’s good enough.”

Lewis Hamilton joined the action in SQ3 later than his rivals, but it was enough for him to secure an impressive P2 on the grid after having struggled for pace on dry surface.

Expanding on his stellar performance in the sprint shootout, Hamilton added: “It was very tricky – tricky conditions. Not a lot of grip, as you saw, for everyone. But yeah, [I’m] so happy.

“As soon as I saw the rain coming I was getting excited, because naturally in the dry conditions we’re not quick enough, so when the rain came then I kind of thought that I’d have a bit of a better opportunity, and then that’s when it kind of all came alive.”

Fernando Alonso took third for Aston Martin while his team-mate Lance Stroll finished only P15 for the Silverstone-based outfit.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen looked quickest on dry track, but he was unable to put a good lap together in damp conditions, and will only line up fourth on the grid.

Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez took fifth and sixth respectively with Charles Leclerc ending up only seventh. The Monégasque displayed eye-catching pace in dry conditions, and appeared to be able to take the fight for pole with Verstappen. However, he span into the wall during the early stages of SQ3, and ended up seventh fastest.


14Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:36.3841:36.0471:57.94013
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:37.1811:36.2871:59.20115
314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.8831:36.1191:59.91514
41Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:36.4561:35.6062:00.02812
555Carlos SainzFerrari1:36.7191:36.0522:00.21415
611Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:36.1101:35.7812:00.37512
716Charles LeclercFerrari1:36.5371:35.7112:00.56615
881Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:36.5421:35.8532:00.99015
977Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:37.1121:36.0562:01.04416
1024Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:37.5441:36.3072:03.53716
1163George RussellMercedes1:37.3101:36.34510
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:37.0331:36.47310
1327Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:36.9241:36.47810
143Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:37.3211:36.5539
1518Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.9611:36.6778
1610Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:37.6326
1731Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:37.7206
1823Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:37.8126
1922Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:37.8926
202Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:37.9236