Lando Norris praised the McLaren F1 Team for its work in preparing his car for qualifying for the French Grand Prix and enabling to finish inside the top five on Saturday at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Fifth place marks Norris’s best qualifying performance in Formula 1 so far and McLaren’s best Saturday result for five years.
The rookie managed to outqualify Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing‘s Pierre Gasly.
But Norris said that he was unsure that McLaren could carry its Friday potential into qualifying after a tight Free Practice 3 session on Saturday morning, where he finished seventh fastest.
“Coming into qualifying after yesterday and Practice 3, things were looking pretty good,” said Norris.
Maybe not so much after FP3 – it got a lot closer than it was yesterday – but we were expecting that and weren’t worried. But it was still going to be very close.”
Norris’s lap time of a 1:29.418, set on the soft tyres, also saw him outqualify team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. by one place as McLaren locked out the third row of the starting grid.
“We made a couple of tweaks before quali, which I think helped,” Norris added.
“We did what we needed to do and I managed to do a decent lap. I messed up the last corner, getting a bit eager and overshot a little bit.
“Apart from that, it’s obviously a good result – but tomorrow’s the long one. Big thanks to the team.“