Lando Norris (Pirelli photo)

Norris Tops Sprint Qualifying In China

SHANGHAI, China — Sprint Qualifying at the Chinese Grand Prix provided a bit of a surprise on Friday afternoon as Lando Norris claimed pole position for Saturday’s preliminary event to Sunday’s Grand Prix.

The McLaren turned a best lap of one minute and 57.940 seconds during a rain-plagued final qualifying session and Shanghai Int’l Circuit.

“I’m extremely happy first of all,” Norris said. “A big thanks to the whole team. It was tricky, you’re always nervous going into a session like this, especially for quali when you almost know it’s going to rain. I was quite happy with how it was in the dry, I think we’ve had good pace all weekend so far.”

Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton qualified second for Mercedes.

“It was very tricky – tricky conditions,” said Hamilton on. “Not a lot of grip, as you saw, for everyone. But yeah, (I’m) so happy.

“As soon as I saw the rain coming I was getting excited, because naturally in the dry conditions we’re not quick enough, so when the rain came then I kind of thought that I’d have a bit of a better opportunity, and then that’s when it kind of all came alive.”

Fernando Alonso qualified third for Aston Martin, while championship leader Max Verstappen placed his Red Bull fourth on the grid.

Carlos Sainz claimed fifth for Ferrari, putting five different manufacturers in the top five positions on the grid.