Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Norris: Q1 incident with Mazepin “cost me quali today”

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lando Norris says an incident with Nikita Mazepin in the first round of qualifying cost him a better position when he reached Q3.

The McLaren driver was delayed by the Haas pilot at the chicane during his first run in Q1. He had to make another attempt at a quick time to reach the second stage of qualifying, which meant he used another new set of soft tyres. That left him with just a single set to use in Q3, instead of two.

“I feel like it kind of cost me quali today,” Norris explained. “The car was good. I feel like I didn’t do a bad job. I just had one guy who held me up a lot, which meant I had to use my second set of tyres.

“When it’s split by thousandths and hundredths and tenths and stuff, you want have the opportunity to kind of improve and you can’t make any mistakes. When you have something like that and you only have one set of tyres to really push on, it definitely cost us today. So it’s a bit annoying because I feel like we could have been fifth, sixth or something but it didn’t happen.”

The stewards have summoned Norris and Mazepin over the incident.

Norris ran an old set of tyres for his first run in Q3, when he encountered gravel on the track.

“There was a little bit of gravel in turn 13,” he explained. “Someone said Perez spun there or something. So I think I was like the first guy to push through it and just unlucky because there’s some crap on the track and I lost a couple of tenths.

Having saved his sole set of new tyres for the final run in Q3, Norris said he and other drivers found the track conditions deteriorated compared to the beginning of the session.

“No one really seemed to improve on their second push lap,” he said. “I don’t know if it got a bit more windy or whatever. That was a hindsight thing, you would have put your new set on for run one in Q3 rather than run two.

“But you never know. We were just unlucky and the only reason for that is Q1 and having the traffic in the final corner.”

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Dieter Rencken
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14 comments on “Norris: Q1 incident with Mazepin “cost me quali today””

  1. Not an excuse. Leclerc also had to use a second set of tyres in Q1 and got P4.

    Reply moderated
  2. I thought Maldonado was poor but Mazepin really is the icing on the cake…

    (I’ll get my coat)

    1. Maldonado was at least quite fast when he got a good car to drive @sonnycrockett

    2. There’s Yuji Ide too.

  3. I really wonder how to penalise Mazepin for this one though. Giving him a grid penalty is nonsense, since he is already clearely at the back.

    I guess some points on his licence is in order, but surely it should get something to remind him for the race.

    1. And a fine for the team too @bascb, as surely after last weekends issue making clear to the driver he had to let by a faster car they needed to be on alert.

      Also, that’s something the driver’s father will feel in his pocket!

  4. That was not Mazepin’s fault.
    No matter what he did at that point he was was going to be in the way, along with the 2 other cars ahead of him (which is the reason why he was in the way in the first place).

    If anyone really wants clean air in qualifying, they know what they need to do differently.

    1. So, no one should be ever get punished for delaying another car. All those penalties given are mistaken.

      1. That’s quite the tangent you’ve gone off on there.
        Of course there needs to be some penalties when it’s an avoidable situation – but from Mazepin’s position, this was unavoidable. There was nowhere else to go to on either side, no time to go there, and the only space to disappear to was to pass the two cars ahead of him (who were going dangerously slowly) and begin his own lap. Which he did.

        I strongly support implementation of a sensible maximum lap time to avoid, or at least minimise, these situations.

    2. This. Q1 on a short track is always an extra challenge and a bit of a lottery.
      The way I read the article, the real reason for his bad lap in q3 was the gravel from Perez’s spin. But its becoming a habit to just blame Mazepin for everything. Eriksson’s fault.

  5. I would laugh if he said Russian swearwords.

  6. Leclerc improved and went 4th , so Norris shdnt blame others. Just accept and move on.

    Reply moderated
  7. Another session, another incident Mazepin is causing/caught up in.

    Has he actually had a clean session this season where he hasn’t either spun, crashed or blocked somebody?, I can’t think of one.

    Ah well, at least he’s on a track he knows now, so can use experience to show he at least has some speed in there somewhere….. as he says, let his driving do the talking.

    what do you mean he’s 7 tenths slower than his rookie team mate again?

    Oh well… at least his daddy is rich i guess.

  8. I’m not surprised nobody improved at the end. They all wait until the very last second and then trip over themselves trying to give themselves room at the end of their warm up and therefore really don’t get their tyre preparation quite right or completely clean air to run in.

    It just mystifying why they all seem to do the same thing over and over again and continue to expect that they’ll have a great run.

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