Norris: Splitting Mercedes in French GP qualifying "a shock" - Motor Informed
Formula 1

Norris: Splitting Mercedes in French GP qualifying “a shock”

The McLaren driver was solely ninth in FP3, behind even the Williams of Alex Albon, and thus didn’t enter qualifying anticipating to be preventing close to the sharp finish.

Nevertheless, in a show of spectacular consistency, he was fifth in all three segments of qualifying, ending up between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on the ultimate grid.

“Very shocked, truly,” he stated of the end result.

“I imply, after the tempo in Q1 and Q2, I suppose not as shocked. In case you requested me earlier than qualifying have been do you suppose you’d be, it positively would not be competing with them.

“Put it down to 2 issues, one the automotive performing very nicely, and clearly working nicely. But in addition to it being an excellent lap, and I’d say there was in all probability one mistake, just a little little bit of wheelspin out of Flip 9.

“However aside from that it was a really robust lap from myself. So I feel that was the factor which put us forward of one of many Mercedes.”

Norris acknowledged that whereas he beat Russell, who truly made a mistake on his closing lap, he nonetheless misplaced out to Hamilton.

“I suppose I used to be nonetheless three-tenths behind the opposite, there isn’t any approach I used to be going three-tenths faster, if that is sensible. So it reveals they nonetheless forward.

“However to have closed the hole as a lot as what we did, contemplating the place we have been the previous couple of weekends, and the place they have been as nicely, I do know they’re just a little bit off the tempo, was positively a shock however one, like a rewarding shock.

“So whether or not or not we’ll be capable of sustain with them tomorrow within the race is one other query, however for at present, it was beautiful to be forward of one in all them, at the least.”

Norris hinted that when the crew mentioned its plans for qualifying he didn’t count on to have to save lots of tyres for Q3.

“I imply, earlier than qualifying we have been debating whether or not or not we should always discuss Q3 or not!

Lando Norris, McLaren

Lando Norris, McLaren

Photograph by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

“We have been discussing our run plans, methods to use our tyres, and what technique to decide on, and issues like that. So not that we’d by no means wish to get to Q3, however simply how to decide on the tyres for FP3 on the proper time and issues like that.

“We received into Q3 and have been preventing round with Alpines and stuff like that, I feel that was in all probability extra our expectation.”

Norris additionally famous that McLaren’s newest updates have carried out nicely in France, stating: “I feel with what I felt just like the automotive might obtain this weekend after bringing the brand new components and placing them on in FP2, and realising that improved some issues into at present into FP3 after which from FP3 to quali, there was good potential, and positively to be round Alpine.

“However to be just a little chunk forward of them and preventing Mercedes was positively much more than I anticipated.

“I do not suppose it was something like overperforming, however we simply carried out extraordinarily nicely at present, they usually in all probability underperformed, and I feel perhaps tomorrow they will simply be just a little bit forward as normal.

“I’d like to say we are able to battle them, and I am going to do my finest to try this.”

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