Lando Norris admitted he did not expect to qualify third on the grid for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but the McLaren F1 Team driver was delighted he was able to achieve the position on row two.
Norris enjoyed his final flying lap around the Yas Marina Circuit that propelled him up to third place, with the Briton ending 0.016 seconds ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez.
He believes maintaining his position in third will be difficult on Sunday, particularly with the likes of Pérez and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Valtteri Bottas behind him, but he will be doing his best to end his best year in Formula 1 to date on a high.
“I’m very happy,” said Norris. “I didn’t expect to be P3 today, but the car felt in a good position going into qualifying and I also felt like I did a very good lap when I needed to in my second run in Q3.
“Everything came together and I gave myself the best position for tomorrow to score some good points. So, I’m excited and looking forward to the race, which is going to be tough – but we’ll give it our best.”
“The new tyre was my biggest problem” – Daniel Ricciardo
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo also made it into the top ten, however, where Norris was able to find time when it mattered to qualify on row two, the Australian was unable to better tenth on the grid.
Ricciardo felt it was a tricky session for him in Abu Dhabi, and he bemoaned his inability to find that extra step that Norris was able to find on the new tyre in Q3.
This will leave him with some work to do on Sunday, and whilst pleased for his team-mate, he was less than pleased with his own performance.
“It was a tricky session,” said Ricciardo. “The new tyre was my biggest problem, I just wasn’t able to take another step with it. I’ve got to look into whether there’s something I can do differently to get the tyre in the right window. It’s on me to try to figure that out.
“Otherwise, we’ll try to do something from where we start tomorrow. Hopefully, there’s a few things happening that we can make the most of. Lando was strong, I’m really happy for him in third.
“Obviously, we’d love to be further up there with him, but I just didn’t have it today.”