Norris sees no cause for concern in run of Q3 setbacks

2021 F1 season

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Lando Norris says he isn’t troubled by the fact he hasn’t been able to improve his lap time during the final phase of qualifying in recent race weekends.

The McLaren driver has reached Q3 at all four rounds so far this year. However in the last three races he has set his fastest qualifying time in Q2, and failed to improve during the shoot-out for the top 10 places on the grid.

Norris said he encountered different setbacks at the end of qualifying in each of these rounds.

“I don’t think my qualis have been too bad,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “It’s been mainly Q3. My Q1s and Q2s have been very good, Q3 run ones have often been very good, but then Q3 run two is often where it’s going a little bit downhill.

“But it was all for kind of different reasons. It’s not because I’ve not been able to put laps in or put it together or anything like that. [In Spain] I had damage on the car, Imola was going off the track, Portugal was going too early and getting caught behind the Aston. All of them have been a bit different so I’m not too worried about it.

“I think if something started repeating itself in Q3 then I think there’s a clear thing to work on. But at the moment, it’s always been a different reason and Q1 and Q2 have always going very well. So I still have the confidence when we put it together in Q3, everything’s fine.”

After qualifying ninth for the Spanish Grand Prix, Norris said he was compromised by having to use an extra set of new tyres in Q1 after being held up by Nikita Mazepin.

The team subsequently discovered he also had damage on his car during his final run, Norris revealed. “I ran wide at the exit of turn nine on my Q3 run one lap which was on a used, still relatively new tyre,” he explained. “But then on the new tyre, the damage kind of cost me a bit. So not ideal.”

His team mate Daniel Ricciardo is confident he can avoid a repeat of his elimination in the first round of qualifying during the third round of the season in Portugal.

“I’ve already had my Q1 experience this year, so I’m not going to do that again,” he said. “It’s only up from here.”

“Certainly Barcelona was better for me,” he added. “That I think I’ll try to carry into Monaco.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Norris sees no cause for concern in run of Q3 setbacks”

  1. It’s going to be a very interesting qualy this year at Monaco.

    If the midfield teams have an amazing high downforce setup (read that as spent a chunk of budget) designed for glory runs at Monaco/Singapore, it’s possible that they could pinch a pole position from Mercedes or Red Bull if those two have decided their budget is better spent on the other 21 races from a WCC perspective.

    Given power sensitivity isn’t an issue here, there’s scope for any one of Mclaren, Alpine, Ferrari, Alpha Tauri and even Aston to have a huge jump in fortune just for the one race. Just what would a win at Monaco be worth to sponsors?

    1. @dbradock I’m not as hopeful as you.

    2. Highly unlikely. But I guess we’re all entitled to wishful thinking.

    3. Yes, doesn’t sound realistic to me, I think anyone but mercedes winning is already a lot, and that includes red bull. Verstappen has a chance if all works out: qualifying pace, good start, good reliability.

      1. @esploratore – Pirelli are bringing their hardest tyres to Monaco and the forecast isn’t for particularly hot temperatures so I think Red Bull will struggle to get enough performance from the tyres to compete with Mercedes. I think it’ll be an easy lights to flag win for Hamilton this time.

    4. @dbradock that seems fairly unlikely to happen for a number of reasons.

      Firstly, given how fluid the calendar has been until even quite recently, how many teams would be prepared to stake that much on a single race that might not take place? With the budget cap now in place, investing a lot in a Monaco spec package would have the effect of reducing available resources elsewhere – if Monaco was then cancelled, you’d have potentially sacrificed a disproportionate amount of resources for very little benefit.

      Secondly, there is an inherent flaw in the focus on the high downforce package – it’s usually a combination of factors (ride compliance, suspension geometry etc), and quite a few of those factors will be largely fixed.

      Thirdly, when you say “Just what would a win at Monaco be worth to sponsors?”, it does indeed raise the question – would the potential pay off be worth the cost in the first place? How much would the sponsors care about it?

  2. Daniel Ricciardo has almost always been very good at Monaco, will definitely be interesting to see how qualifying goes when all the cars in the midfield are as close as they currently are.

    1. Monaco is one of those tracks where precision is critical. There’s not the scope for overcooking without severe penalty as quite a few have discovered over the years.

      Dan is one of those that seems to be able to drive Monaco with the sort of extreme precision that is required to excel there. Given he’s still not 100% sorted in the Mclaren I’d say that it would be a miracle if he makes top 4 unless Mclaren bring something very special for this weekend.

      1. Good points about feeling you have the car perfectly figured out @dbradock. I do think that given he had a solid race in Barcelona and actually quite a solid race before that in Portugal too, Daniel might just be getting close enough to achieve, but it probably will be quite telling how comfortable he will look here.

        I do think that Norris can learn a bit from Daniel in that respect, especially at a track like this. Going wide in a crucial point towards the end of the lap here can mean a red flag of the session instead of just having your time deleted, as his good friend Max will be able to confirm (Max has since learned a lot how to do things better)

    2. @bascb Yes, he will be a good measure of Norris this weekend

  3. Why make an issue of a non-issue?

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