Norris: I’m surprised to be here

lando norris third barcelona qualifying 2023 f1

On days like today, tricky and unpredictable as they were during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, Lando Norris showed what a special talent he is, and that McLaren would be wise to get their car up to scratch for some potent results their driver is capable of delivering.

Ahead of the weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Cataunya, Norris admitted he was making more mistakes this season as he has to overdrive the care to compensate for lack of pace relative to their rivals. On Saturday, however, the stars aligned for Englishman who delivered a stellar display to claim second-row start for Sunday’s race.

Norris was hot all session long, but he kept his best for last, a lap good enough for P3 astounding the driver in the process: “I’m surprised to be here. Amazing job. P3, almost P2. It’s a home race for Carlos so I thought I’d give him a couple of tenths. I’m very happy. To be in P3 was quite nice. The whole of qualifying we were quite quick, so all good. It was a difficult Qualifying, but always in these conditions, we seem to do well. It seemed to suit me.”

Later, in the McLaren qualifying report, Norris continued: “Things have turned around this weekend from Friday’s running when the car wasn’t feeling too good at all. I didn’t feel confident yesterday, but we went from lacking pace and car balance to doing our best Qualy by quite a long way this season.”

Lando and Oscar both made it into Q3 for McLaren in Barcelona

“Q1 wasn’t anything special,” explained Norris. “But in Q2 and Q3, I just found a little bit more confidence in the car when things dried out a little bit more and it all came our way, and we ended up P3. Very happy with the result.

“Big thanks to everyone here at the track and back at MTC. We know we’ve got work to do but we keep pushing forward as a team and can be proud of today,” added 23-year-old Norris, who lines up for his 89th Grand Prix start.

His McLaren teammate, starting his seventh Grand Prix on Sunday, Oscar Piastri made it into Q3 but got it wrong and will line up tenth best of the rookies. The Australian summed up his session: “P10 this afternoon, obviously a very good day for the team with both cars starting in the top 10.

“It was a really competitive qualifying session, it’s just a shame I didn’t put it together right at the end of Q3. I was confident in finishing higher up the order but on reflection, it was certainly an encouraging day. We can now take lots of positive momentum into the race to aim for another double-points finish,” added Paistri.

Ahead of Round 7 of the 2023 F1 World Championship, McLaren are sixth in the F1 Constructors’ standings on 17 points scored, 12 of them scored by Norris who is 11th in the F1 Drivers’ championship; Piastri is 13th on 5 points.