Lando Norris says it was ‘gutting’ to lose a time good enough for third place on the grid for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Briton having his time deleted for exceeding track limits.
The McLaren F1 Team racer had set the fastest sector times in both sectors one and two and had slipped into second place at the end of Qualifying at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, only for stewards to delete the time for going off track at turn nine.
Unfortunately, this meant Norris was relegated to seventh at the chequered flag, and although there was disappointment to contend with, there were also plenty of positives to take into the rest of the weekend at Imola.
“A disappointing end to qualifying,” said Norris. “I think the whole thing went very well and I was very happy with my laps all the way through.
“We only did one run in Q1 and Q2, which I think is the first time I’ve ever done that. So things were looking hopeful, but I just overdid it slightly on my final lap, which was a very good lap but just a little bit wide and the lap was taken away. Pretty disappointed, because we could’ve been a lot higher up and in a much better position for tomorrow.
“After we struggled yesterday, we’ve done a lot of work and the feeling in the car was much better today. The team both here and at the factory has done a great job overnight to work on improvements and give us a car that felt quick and was capable of fighting right up there and maybe even for pole.
“I’m gutted, but there are still a lot of positives to take away from today and hopefully we can convert them into a good result tomorrow.”
“I think the weekend has been a bit slow for me to get going” – Daniel Ricciardo
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo will start ahead of Norris in sixth, with the Australian admitting he had been slow to get into a rhythm and to find the limit throughout the weekend at Imola.
Ricciardo had not been at the same kind of pace as Norris during free practice but was able to get into the top ten, ultimately ending just 0.415 seconds off Lewis Hamilton’s pole time.
He praised the team for working hard overnight to find the performance needed to be a top ten contender on Saturday, and he rewarded them by putting his car onto the third row of the grid.
“I think on paper it’s not a bad result, P6,” said Ricciardo. “It’s really tight at the front. I think the weekend has been a bit slow for me to get going.
“We got a bit closer in quali and I certainly made some improvements, but I still think – and I hate to say it – it’s just going to take time to keep finding the limits. I’m getting there. I obviously wish I could be there from lap one, but I think it’s been a weekend of progress so far and there are definitely positives to take after qualifying.
“We’ve worked well as a team to recover from a difficult Friday, so thanks to the team here and in the factory for their hard work. I wouldn’t say I’m ecstatic, but I’m certainly content with our progress.”