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McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris

Norris ‘gutted’ after Brazil quali potential left unfulfilled

A severe storm interrupted qualifying on Friday

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Lando Norris starts Sunday’s race from sixth on the grid, with teammate Piastri in P10. 

Storm at Brazil F1 qualifying
The sudden arrival of a storm brought qualifying to an early end on Friday. (Image: RacingNews365)

Qualifying for the São Paulo Grand Prix was brought to a premature end on Friday, after a severe storm disrupted proceedings. The final moments of qualifying saw ominous black clouds roll in, plunging Interlagos into darkness. With around five minutes to go, the session was red flagged.

Drivers were unable to get their final qualifying laps in, resulting in an unsettled front of the grid for Sunday’s race. It’s an outcome that’s particularly disappointing for McLaren. The Woking-based team had shown great pace all throughout Q1 and Q2, with Lando Norris looking quick enough to start at the front of the grid. Norris ended Q2 the fastest, over a tenth ahead of Max Verstappen.

McLaren’s qualifying pace didn’t translate into a result representative of its potential. After going off in the opening minutes of Q3, Oscar Piastri finds himself starting from P10. Lando Norris, unable to set a fast lap because of the storm, qualified P7. However, a grid drop for George Russell has elevated Norris one position higher, up into P6.

Disappointed

Speaking to F1 after qualifying, Lando Norris was evidently downbeat. The 23-year-old was quick to sing the praises of the MCL60, but emphasised his sense of lost potential:

“The car was amazing. Easily, probably quick enough to be quickest today and then on pole.”

“Pretty gutted it had to end the way we did,” Norris continued. “I don’t know, I don’t know what to feel about it. I think the car was amazing, it came alive a lot in qualifying. Easily good enough to be quickest, I’d say.”

He added, “Obviously delivering the lap and putting it together in Q3 and everything is a different job, but easily quick enough so, yeah, disappointed. Disappointing for today, but not a lot we could have done.”

Uncertainties remain for the Sprint Shootout and Sprint Race. After Friday’s sudden deluge, there’s a fear of wet running throughout Saturday’s sessions. Commenting on this, Norris seemed uncertain as to how the McLaren might perform in wet weather.

“I look forward to tomorrow,” he said. “The car’s good, I don’t know if it’s going to be good in the wet, or if it’s going to be wet or dry tomorrow. But in the dry we should be quick enough, so a shame.”

Featured Image Credit: Sports Illustrated

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