Lando Norris “shocked to be here” as he qualifies a magnificent P3

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McLaren has achieved in very tricky conditions its best seasonal performance in qualifying by scoring a P3 with Lando Norris. The British driver had jumped to P2 in Q2, but in Q3 he had to concede the front row spot to his former teammate Carlos Sainz.

It’s a very positive day for McLaren overall with two drivers in the top ten and thus in the contention for points, as Norris said in the post-qualifying press conference:

“Things have turned around this weekend from Friday’s running, when the car wasn’t feeling too good at all.”

Norris, once on the podium in 2022, admitted that in the previous practise session he had struggled to get a good feeling but that it all was fixed with the help of his team:

“I didn’t feel confident yesterday, but we went from lacking pace and car balance to doing our best quali by quite a long way this season. So, I’m very happy.”

He also recalled the main events of the session, highlighting the importance of the improving weather conditions:

“Q1 wasn’t anything special but in Q2 and Q3, I just found a little bit more confidence in the car when things dried out a little bit more and it all came our way, and we ended up P3. Very happy with the result.”

Photo credit: McLaren Racing

The McLaren driver returned on the topic during the post qualifying press conference, as he admitted his surprise in the vastly different behaviour his MCL-60 in spite of the lack of upgrades introduced in Spain:

“I’m shocked to be here. We’ve not really brought anything to the car this weekend, the last upgrade we had was Baku with the floor and even that didn’t give us a lot of performance, just a different direction to go in.

“We’ve not really brought too many big things, just some very small things that obviously help a little bit. In a good way, I’m happy, but we didn’t really change anything this weekend, it’s the same car that we’ve been struggling with, so managed to see some good points from it.”

A factor which might have played a role in Norris’s performance might be the fact that the new Barcelona layout insists on one of the British team’s strongest areasa, performance in high speed corners:

“We’re still pretty poor in many areas but high speed has always been one of our strengths for years and slow speed quite the opposite so I think this layout has helped us, certainly benefitted us a bit more.”

In spite of the happiness for the impressive achievement, Norris is already focused on the race taking place tomorrow, in order to convert his good run of the day into points for the championship:

“Big thanks to everyone here at track and back at MTC. We know we’ve got work to do but we keep pushing forward as a team and can be proud of today,” he concluded.