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Norris surprised by Brazil F1 sprint pole after “worst” lap

Lando Norris has admitted his pole position for Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix sprint race came as a surprise as he felt his lap was one of his “worst”.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The McLaren driver had been left disappointed after Friday’s qualifying session for Sunday’s grand prix when he felt he and the squad had blown the chance to start from the top spot.

But he did not get it wrong a second time, as he pulled off a brilliant pole position in the Q3 segment of sprint qualifying to edge out Max Verstappen by 0.061 seconds.

While McLaren has shown strong potential throughout the Interlagos weekend, Norris said he did not feel his final sprint qualifying effort was going to deliver pole.

“Honestly, it felt like one of the worst laps I've done,” explained the Briton. “So I'm a little bit surprised, but it's a good surprise. I feel like we made up for yesterday. So yeah, good. My first pole in a long time, so I'm happy.”

Speaking in more detail to F1 about exactly why the lap had not felt good, Norris said the biggest error came in the opening section.

“I just messed up Turn 1,” he explained. “I think that was the only real thing, the rest of it didn't feel amazing but not bad.

“Turn 1 and Turn 2 have been my nemesis corners all weekend. And I probably did my worst Turn 1 and Turn 2 today in Q3.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Norris’s pole in the Brazil sprint is his first since the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, which he went on to lead before a late-race downpour ruined his chances of grabbing a maiden win.

Team-mate Oscar Piastri, who ended up 10th on the grid, showed in Qatar that McLaren has potential to turn a sprint pole into a race win – although Norris is under no illusions how difficult it will be.

“The pace has been good all weekend and the car has been very strong, so we're on the right track,” he said. “But it's a tough one.

“The Red Bulls are always quick. Max is always quick. So it's not going to be an easy race, but the pace is strong. So if we want to have any chance, I'll give it my all.”

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Of particular concern to Norris, however, was the fact that nobody managed to do a representative long run to know how things stack up over race distances.

“No one's done any long running, or we haven't any long running, so we're a little with some questions to answer for today, and of course for tomorrow. But I'm confident we can have a good race.”

Norris has joined AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda in being summoned to see the stewards after the session for breaking the maximum lap time delta during the Q1 segment of Saturday's qualifying.

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