Norris rates ‘perfect’ pole lap as among his best ever

Lando Norris described his pole position lap at the Spanish Grand Prix as “perfect” and likely the best he has ever done in his career after beating Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver had been on provisional pole position and had extended his advantage over the field to over 0.3s with his final lap, but Norris came through to take the second pole of his career by just 0.020s. Only a few hours earlier Norris had been left without his shoes due to a fire in the McLaren motorhome, but he says his performance was up with his best-ever laps.

“It feels great — poles always feel good and it’s my second one in my career,” Norris said. “I’ve had two sprint race poles, but I don’t regard that at all as a pole position. So this is my second one of my career. Been a while since Sochi [in 2021], all the way back then.


“It feels great. It was an amazing lap — honestly it was my best lap by a long way. I pretty much put the whole lap together, so I got a nice slipstream. It was probably my best corner around the lap, every single part of it put together.

“Max was a bit ahead in Q1 and Q2, and I knew I had to do something perfect in Q3 to do it, and that’s exactly what I did, so pretty happy that I managed to pull off my best lap that I’ve done, probably ever.

“I’m probably going to get back and Jarv [Andrew Jarvis], my engineer, is going to tell me that I messed something up. But I think it’s so tricky nowadays, with the car and the tires, and we’re pushing so much to just put everything together.

“You might be able to do half of it once and half another, or mix it up, but to kind of put all of it right at that limit is very tricky and I’m sure every driver would say the same. Very rewarding when you do, and when you do it and end up on pole because of it, it’s even sweeter.”

Red Bull had been favorite heading into the weekend and Verstappen still lines up alongside Norris on the front row, but the Briton is confident there’s a wide-open fight for victory among the top four teams in store at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday.

“I don’t have any concerns. I’m excited,” he said. “It’s a long run down to Turn 1 — it’s probably one of the places that you don’t want to start on pole. It’s an opportunity for us to go out and try and win a race.

“We’ve not done loads of long running; we’ve done a bit, and I think we were close as it always has been. I think tomorrow’s not like this car is quicker or way quicker. I think between Mercedes, ourselves, Red Bull, Ferrari, there’s eight cars that could probably have been on pole today and have a chance of probably winning the race tomorrow.

“It’s about making the least mistakes, similar to today, and just trying to execute another good race that we normally do.”

Norris says the earlier fire had no real impact on his preparations, with his main focus being on the fact that nobody was hurt following news the McLaren team member that was taken to hospital has been discharged.

“From that side, the best thing is that everyone was safe, everyone is doing well. One person was taken to hospital just for some check-ups but all good otherwise. A bit of a scare for the whole team — never a nice thing. But just a bit more probably of a stressful day than I would have liked.

“I lost my shoes, and that was probably as bad as it got for me, honestly. Just different, I’ve not been in my normal room, I’ve not been maybe able to relax and chill out as much as I normally do. I’ve had a lot of offers from people; it’s been great. A lot of the teams honestly have been very, very nice to us, McLaren, in offering help and things like that, so that was all good from that side.

“But a shame it [the damaged hospitality hub] won’t be used today or tomorrow I don’t think for anything, and maybe not into the future. But that’s not anything that I know about for now.”

Story originally appeared on Racer