Lando Norris was the surprise of Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Briton ending just 0.048 seconds away from pole position but with his first front row start in Formula 1.
The McLaren F1 Team racer will join Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen on the first row of the grid on Sunday at the Red Bull Ring, with his final flying lap getting him extremely close to a maiden pole position.
Norris felt he got as much out of the MCL35M as he could in Qualifying, with the Briton managing to beat the second Red Bull of Sergio Pérez, as well as the two Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“Very happy! My best result in qualifying in Formula 1, so a big achievement for us as a team but also for myself,” said Norris. “It was one of the best laps I’ve done.
“To only be half a tenth off pole is a great achievement for everyone. It makes you miss it from your early career! I don’t think we could’ve done a lot more, so P2 is awesome for us and a great position to start from tomorrow.
“Let’s see what we can do in the race.”
“It did feel better, but it’s just not translating into lap-time” – Daniel Ricciardo
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was not at the same kind of level as Norris in Qualifying, with the Australian’s struggles continuing as he could only manage thirteenth.
Ricciardo was fortunate to make it into Q2, ending the opening segment of Qualifying fifteenth fastest, and although he feels better behind the wheel than he did seven days ago at the same circuit, it was still not translating into the kind of lap time needed to be a top ten contender.
“Unfortunately, a similar result to last week,” said Ricciardo. “It did feel better, but it’s just not translating into lap-time.
“In Q1, I was pretty happy with the laps. I felt like I’d done quite well but I was still half a second off. So, it’s a bit of a head-scratch. I don’t really know where else to get the extra speed from at the moment, so I’ll keep chipping away.
“We’ve got the tyre choice tomorrow, so we’ll try to make another good start like last week and keep sailing through the field.”