Berliner Tageblatt - Norris on Spanish Grand Prix pole after 'best ever lap'

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Norris on Spanish Grand Prix pole after 'best ever lap'
Norris on Spanish Grand Prix pole after 'best ever lap' / Photo: © AFP

Norris on Spanish Grand Prix pole after 'best ever lap'

McLaren's Lando Norris produced a spellbinding late lap to deprive Max Verstappen of pole for the Spanish Grand Prix in qualifying on Saturday.

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Lewis Hamilton will start on the second row alongside his Mercedes teammate George Russell.

Verstappen looked sure to start Sunday's 10th round of the season from the front of the grid.

But in the last throw of the top-10 shoot-out Norris denied the Red Bull ace by a mere two hundredths of a second.

"Today was the perfect lap," said Norris after only his second career pole.

"My best lap by a long way, I knew I had to do something perfect, it was probably my best lap ever."

Norris produced his minute of magic after a "stressful" day when the McLaren hospitality unit caught fire before third practice earlier.

"I lost my shoes. It's all been a bit messy. I like to listen to my music loud beforehand, but didn't have that this time. But it's not the end of the world. I'm not going to complain about it."

Turning back to a vintage qualifying session, Norris, whose only other pole came in Russia in 2021, reflected: "It's been a while since Sochi, all the way back then.

"Max seemed a bit stronger today, but we made some changes," added the Briton who won his maiden Grand Prix in May in Miami.

"I'm super happy to be on pole, it's going to be tough but we're here to win!"

Verstappen, targeting a fourth straight world title, leads the championship by 56 points from Charles Leclerc, who starts Sunday's race in fifth, with Norris seven points back in third.

Verstappen won his maiden Grand Prix in Barcelona in 2016 and is on a hat-trick after wins in 2022 and 2023.

"I think the whole of qualifying was better than practice for me," said Verstappen.

"It all clicked much better. The other teams are catching up, we need to bring more performance to the car."

Hamilton was happy to be towards the front of the grid.

"It's good to be back up here, great to see we are progressing.

"We are slowly climbing closer to the guys in front, it's really on a knife edge.

"I'm really happy to be in P3 with that long straight to turn one."

This is the 10th round of the 24-race season and the first of a triple header with Austria and Silverstone coming up over the next two weekends.