Norris secures second career pole position, Piastri endures disastrous qualifying

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Lando Norris grabbed pole position in Barcelona, in what was an incredibly close qualifying session. The Briton was delighted with his last qualifying lap which he labelled as "perfect" after climbing out of his MCL36.

Lando Norris came close to pole position on multiple occasions in recent rounds, but he missed out on it by a tiny fraction in several qualifying sessions.

The Bristol-born racer took his first career pole in Sochi three years ago, and he delivered a lap which he called "perfect" to secure McLaren's first pole position at Barcelona since Kimi Raikkonen's P1 result in 2005.

The Briton commented: “I’m super, super happy. We’ve been close to the front all weekend, but needed to have a perfect lap, and I think we delivered that. We’ve been quick for the last two months, and we’ve probably missed a pole by not having that perfect lap.

"Today, for the final run, we made a few changes, found some places to make tiny improvements and it all worked out.

“We’re in a great position to convert pole into a victory but it’s going to be incredibly tough against Max, against Lewis and everyone behind them – but we’ve been strong since Miami, we’re here to win, and that’s definitely the target.”

His team-mate Oscar Piastri was lacking pace compared to Norris all through the weekend. The Australian made vital gains for the middle part of the qualifying where he finally looked competitie.

However, he had a disastrous end to qualfiying. His first lap time on used tyres was deleted for track limits, and then he made a mistake and ran into the gravel on his second run to fail to record a time.

The Australian noted: “Not the best Qualifying, we just struggled with the balance of the car the whole way through.

"Obviously the car has pace so we’ll dig into what went wrong and work out how we can fight back tomorrow. Today was just one of those days, unfortunately.”

Team boss Andrea Stella was delighted that McLaren achieved its first pole position at Barcelona since Kimi Raikkonen won the race from P1 back in 2005.

Commenting on McLaren's results in qualifying, the Italian said: “A pole position at a circuit like Barcelona, which is very demanding for the drivers and for the cars, is obviously a great result for the entire team.

"We have achieved important milestones recently, but the pole position was still one of those achievements that had eluded us. It’s good that we could confirm the progress of the team, and of the car, with this pole position. A great drive by Lando, he drove Qualifying faultlessly and, when it counted, put together one of the best laps of his career.

“Again, the field proved to be very, very tight, so everything can happen tomorrow. We’ll have to stay focused and try to maximise a good start from pole for Lando.

“On Oscar’s side, the Qualifying session was a little untidy. Oscar struggled a bit more to get into a rhythm and, in Q3, couldn’t effectively put together a lap without exceeding track limits – but we know the pace is there and tomorrow is a completely different situation.

"We will reset, look at what we need to improve, and we look ahead to finishing in a better position to where we start and scoring important points for the team," concluded Stella.