“Eight cars have a chance of probably winning” after going “balls out” to take pole at F1 Spanish GP — Norris

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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The British driver has secured the second pole position of his Formula 1 career by a very tiny margin over reigning champion Max Verstappen, only 0.020s! After a quiet first segment of qualifying and getting P2 in Q2, the first attempts in Q3 went in favor of the Dutch driver.

However, it was Norris’s time to shine on his second run, which beat the second time set by Verstappen. The Dutchman had been aided by getting a tow from Perez.

Norris described his lap in the post-qualifying interview, highlighting his pleasure at the lap he did.

“It was pretty much a perfect lap. You know you’re on a good lap when you’re getting excited but the whole thing went perfectly in the end. So, close, still, but super, super happy. One of my, I’d say, my best pole positions. I’ve not had many but out of the ones I’ve had, my best.

“We’ve been close all weekend, but really this was just about a perfect lap and that’s what I did today. So it was cool, the fans and my supporters here are amazing, so a big thanks to everyone cheering me on.”

The British driver went on to discuss how difficult it is to score a pole position nowadays, as so many factors play an important role in the feat.

Four different teams have now scored points in the last four races.

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

“You might be able to do half of it once and half of it 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. So very rewarding when you do and when you do it and end up on pole because of it, it’s even sweeter.”

It was a rather close qualifying session, with tight gaps between the top drivers in all segments, just like it had been in the practice sessions.

With Verstappen holding an edge in Q2 and after the first run in Q3, Norris said he had to go full send on the last lap to pip the World Champion to pole. Not lifting in turn 9 compared to his first lap was a key factor in that.

“We’re always close. I don’t think any practice was split by more than a tenth between the top five. So I was expecting the same as that, and I think it was.

“Probably Max was always two and a half tenths ahead of everyone, both Q1 and Q2 in the runs we did. And we did three laps, you know, we did three runs, four runs in the end altogether.

“You do four laps throughout the whole of qualifying, but every time was like missing a little bit to Max and a lot of it was high speed.

“So, I knew for the final lap, I’ve got to go balls out and do it, and I managed to get that little bit, like that, you know, 200ths, 300ths, 400ths that I was needing to get out of Max, I managed to get. I’m happy the risks paid off and for all of it to come together when I needed it most, it was great,” he gladly recalled.

The Brit also discussed his chances of winning the race tomorrow, admitting anyone in the top four teams can win the Grand Prix.

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

“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 is not like this car is way quicker, between Mercedes, ourselves, Red Bull, Ferrari, there’s eight cars that could have probably been on pole today and that have a chance of probably winning the race tomorrow.

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