Norris: I feel epic!

lando norris qualifying astrian grand prix celebrates

He might not have snatched pole position for the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix, but McLaren driver Lando Norris was The Big Star of qualifying, nearly stealing the show at Red Bull Ring on Saturday afternoon.

Looking strong all weekend, and at the sharp end throughout qualifying, Norris delivered a stonking final run in Q3 to claim second spot on the grid after Max Verstappen in the Red Bull ahead of him in that final run took the top spot start by 0.048s.

Norris, grinning broadly, said immediately after claiming his first Formula 1 front-row start in 46 attempts: “I feel epic!

“It was cool. After the last race, I wanted to do that one more step [starting fourth] and I did two more. It’s nice. It puts us in a good position for tomorrow, it’s one of the best laps I’ve done I think. It was a good feeling.”

Notably, the 21-year-old Englishman was the fastest of the Mercedes powered brigade at Red Bull Ring on Sunday, a rare occasion for a customer team beating the mighty Mercs in whatever session, making the feat that much sweeter.

Norris later added in the team report: “Very happy! My best result in qualifying in Formula 1, so a big achievement for us as a team but also for myself.

“To only be half a tenth off pole is a great achievement for everyone. It makes you miss it from your early career! I don’t think we could’ve done a lot more, so P2 is awesome for us and a great position to start from tomorrow. Let’s see what we can do in the race.”

Team boss Andreas Seidl was happy with his young driver, a milestone for the Woking outfit: “It’s been nine years since McLaren has qualified on the front row.

“So, P2 today for Lando is a great result for the entire team and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP. Lando’s been flying, continuously improving with every single lap all through the qualifying sessions.”

In contrast, and sadly, in the other McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo was humbled by his younger teammate, the Australian never close on this occasion.

In the end, the best he had was only good for Q2, P13 on the timesheets and nearly a full second down on Lando’s sensational lap.