Norris’ “worst second half of a lap” still enough for second in F1 Dutch GP quali

Lando Norris rated the second half of his best Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix qualifying lap as the worst he’s ever produced on his way to the front row.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

The McLaren driver was the best of the rest behind the dominant Max Verstappen, qualifying second but some 0.537s off the Red Bull polesitter at Zandvoort.

Norris briefly looked a threat for pole in the final Q3 runs, going quickest in the first sector, but conceded his second half of the lap, which is where he lost so much time to Verstappen, was poor by his own standards.

“The first half the lap was mega. The second half of the lap was probably one of the worst second halves that I’ve done,” Norris said.

“So, it peaked very early on. It’s tough but I really enjoy these conditions.

“I’ve always enjoyed the conditions. It’s when we do well. I’m taking the P2 still.”

Asked what caused his second half of the lap drop, Norris replied: “The driver [peaked]. The tyres were good until the end. The driver peaked very early.

“I’ve got a bit of work to do. Not the most comfortable, but good enough. I’ll take it.”

But given Verstappen’s utter domination in 2023, and having threatened to take the top spot throughout practice and qualifying, Norris felt second place was a solid result ahead of the Dutch GP on Sunday.

“I’m happy still, P2 was a good result,” he said.

Lando Norris, McLaren, is interviewed after Qualifying by David Coulthard

Lando Norris, McLaren, is interviewed after Qualifying by David Coulthard

Photo by: Dom Romney / Motorsport Images

“I guess in these kinds of conditions, every now and again you hope Max makes a mistake and he doesn’t. Frustrating in a little way, but I’m very happy.

“The team have done a great job. It was a chaotic qualifying but another P2.”

Norris has equalled his best qualifying result of the season with second place, matching his British GP starting position, with McLaren appearing to demonstrate its pace that deserted it during the Belgian GP last time out.

The British driver will duly aim to back up his qualifying to the similarly impressive performances that landed consecutive podiums at Silverstone and Hungaroring before his Spa dip.

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