Lando Norris during Spanish Grand Prix qualifying. (Formula 1 Photo)

Norris Tops Verstappen In Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying

For the second time in his Formula 1 career, Lando Norris will start on pole position. Norris wheeled his McLaren to the top spot ahead of Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. 

Norris, who last scored a pole in 2021, out-dueled points leader Max Verstappen by two hundredths of a second.

“It was pretty much a perfect lap,” Norris said. “You know when 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 – I think my best pole position.

“I’ve not had many but out of the ones I’ve had, the 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 were amazing so a big thanks to everyone cheering me on.”

While he had to settle for second, Verstappen feels his Oracle Red Bull Racing team maximized their efforts despite not placing on pole.

“We made some good set up changes going into qualifying and the car was a lot better,” Verstappen said. “I think we really maximized that and the car felt more connected and nice to drive. We were strong into the high speed and I felt really comfortable there and the high speed corners were really quick.

“We have had a clean weekend and have been fine tuning the car throughout the week. During the practice session I felt like we were not the quickest out there but qualifying felt really good. McLaren were quick the whole weekend and we have been a little bit behind them, so we need to look at what we can do to optimize the performance tomorrow and be more competitive,” Verstappen continued. 

“Looking to tomorrow, I think it will be very tight; it will be about how we approach the tires, especially with the high degradation. It will be a close and exciting race tomorrow. We need to analyze a few things but qualifying has been good so we can aim to fight for the win.”

It was an all-Mercedes second row with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell locking down third and fourth position.

“This is another encouraging result for us as a team,” Hamilton said. “Everyone has been working so hard to bring updates and improvements to the car, making incremental gains and small steps over the season so far. We are starting to become more consistent too and that is huge for us. That is down to every member of the team putting in the extra hours and I want to say a big thank you to them.

“The car is getting more enjoyable to drive. Today, the gap was three tenths, but I think in reality it was less as we didn’t get everything out of the car on that last lap,” Hamilton continued.
“I am going into tomorrow focused on trying to fight for the win. We are in a good starting spot with that long run down to turn one. Degradation will also play a key role tomorrow and I think our long runs in practice looked strong in that respect. I hope that translates into Sunday and we can have a good afternoon.”

Ferrari followed suit with Charles Leclerc (fifth) and Carlos Sainz (sixth) while Apline’s Pierre Gasly claimed seventh around Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. 

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez qualified eighth, however, he’ll drop three spots due to a penalty from the Canadian Grand Prix. That places Esteban Ocon in the eighth position. Oscar Piastri completed the drivers to reach Q3. He was unable to log a time in the final session.

Haas F-1’s Nico Hulkenberg starts 13th while teammate Kevin Magnussen landed 16th on the grid.

American Logan Sargeant qualified 20th.