Lando Norris qualified fifth for Sunday’s 2022 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix and ahead of Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell despite still not feeling 100% after a bout of tonsillitis.
The 22-year-old McLaren driver struggled with sickness in last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, although he still finished eighth, and has spent this week recovering.
“I think Monaco is a track where you want to feel 100% and I still don’t feel 100% to be honest,” said the Briton, who at least felt comfortable in the car and confident.
“It’s tough, it takes a lot of energy out of you this circuit but it’s all worth it at the same time. It’s a lot of fun, especially when you have a good result, it always make it that extra bit better.
“I’m happy but I still need to recover tonight to make sure I do a good job tomorrow,” he added.
Norris, who had been fifth fastest in second practice on Friday and sixth on Saturday in the final session before qualifying, said he would be drinking plenty of fluids and catching up on sleep.
He has also been limiting interviews, talking as little as possible and getting support from the team doctor and his personal trainer.
Norris added in his team’s post qualifying briefing: “The car was good all weekend and I think today we showed that we extracted a lot out of the car, and we put in some good laps.
“It wasn’t quite enough to be ahead of the top two teams but good enough to be ahead of everyone else, which is always the next step. So, I’m happy but there is one more job to do tomorrow,” he explained.
“The focus is to try and go forward if possible – but it’s difficult – so we will try to stay where we are as a minimum and get some good points,” the 22-year-old concluded.
Nothing to celebrate for Daniel Ricciardo
While Norris was happy with his effort, teammate Daniel Ricciardo had nothing to celebrate as he qualified a disappointing 14th.
The Australian has been consistently out-performed by Norris this season and there are signs the team are getting increasingly frustrated.
“I just couldn’t build and get the grip and find that big step… that’s still the struggle,” said the disappointed Australian. “Unfortunately another not great quali for Monaco.”
“It’s not the result I wanted,” he added in McLaren’s qualifying report. “I was just trying to get back into the flow of it in FP3, and then we made a few set-up changes for qualifying.
“Q1 felt a bit more competitive, and I think we did some decent laps,” Ricciardo revealed. “There were a couple of mistakes here and there, but I felt like the pace was in it at the time.
“And then Q2, when everyone was able to make that step, I struggled to get more out of the car and felt I was at the limit.
“We’ll keep at it and hopefully it rains tomorrow,” he concluded.
Nico Rosberg, the retired 2016 World Champion, told Sky Sports television he sympathised.
“Daniel was just a couple of years ago a top-three or four driver in F1, and it’s so difficult to explain what happened,” said the German. “I really feel for him because this is a painful situation.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Additional Reporting by Grandprix247)