Lando Norris frustrated with F1 party crasher Max Verstappen: Pole would have been possible

And once again it was Max Verstappen who ended up laughing. Plagued by problems all weekend, the Red Bull driver ultimately took pole position again. Before McLaren. Oscar Piastri’s penalty at the latest destroys the papaya-colored dreams of continuing successfully after Lando Norris’ sensational debut victory in Miami. Or? No, as we all know, hope dies last in Formula 1.

Lando Norris: Max Verstappen’s return was foreseeable

“Max certainly didn’t have the easiest weekend, but anyone who doubted him or Red Bull is a bit stupid,” explains Lando Norris. McLaren only had the best times in sectors two and three in qualifying in Imola. Overall, Max Verstappen narrowly but still prevailed (also thanks to “slipstream buddy” Nico Hülkenberg).

The newly crowned GP winner was 0.091 seconds behind in P3. Thanks to his teammate Oscar Piastri’s penalty, he moved up one place on the grid and now starts directly behind Verstappen. “Frustrating,” Norris comments anyway. After qualifying he couldn’t quite hide the disappointment on his face.

“Every time you’re just a tenth away from pole, you ask yourself where the last bit was,” says the 24-year-old angrily. According to him, P1 was definitely possible, but he couldn’t manage it on the difficult track in Imola. Positive: McLaren’s overall performance. Ferrari overtakes, again clearly second force behind Red Bull.

McLaren driver Lando Norris
Lando Norris was less than a tenth short of his second pole after Sochi 2021, Photo: LAT Images

“The car was great all weekend,” praises Lando Norris. “It felt good since the first free practice session.” The team from Woking particularly excelled on the long runs. Piastri was the fastest man on the hard tire set with very good tire degradation, while on medium Norris was only a tenth behind Charles Leclerc.

McLaren aims to win the race: preliminary decision at the start

The key to victory in Emilia Romagna now lies in the start. On the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, which is hostile to overtaking, the preliminary decision is made on the long straight to Turn 1. “The start is the best opportunity to make up positions. Then we have to get the pit stops and the strategy right,” explains Norris. If Red Bull can be put under pressure, he is optimistic.

“We didn’t expect to be so close to Red Bull,” says Andrea Stella, who is also very happy with his team’s competitiveness – especially since the update. In Imola, Oscar Piastri also received all new parts. “We are very happy with what we see!” said the McLaren team boss. In order to eventually have the last bit of pole.

Red Bull ahead of McLaren – but where is Ferrari? Having traveled to the home race in Imola with a huge update package, the Scuderia is struggling. Clear goal Pole missed. You can read about what happened here.

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