Lando Norris, McLaren, Imola, 2022

Norris says front row start was within reach before Q3 crash

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Lando Norris says he could have challenged Charles Leclerc for second on the grid for the Imola sprint race before he went off at the end of the session.

The McLaren driver was sitting in third at the second red flag of Q3 caused by Valtteri Bottas pulling off the circuit. When the session resumed, Norris ventured out to try and improve his time along with his rivals, but went off the track at Acque Minerali, spinning into the barriers.

That triggered the final red flag which secured his third position on the grid for the sprint race.

Norris was satisfied with securing third, but believes there was a potential for more had he not spun off. “Of course I’m happy – I’m top three, which is quite a surprise for us,” he said.

“There was a lot left in the lap. So I just tried to get the tyres into temperature, but I pushed too hard on the out-lap. So it’s a shame, because there was a chance, at least, to maybe have a go at Charles.

“It’s difficult to say because I’m sure that everyone can say they improved. There was a possibility for us to go forwards even more, because the car was feeling feeling good and I was feeling confident. So it’s a shame it ended like that, but a good position for tomorrow, so I’m happy.”

Alfa Romeo, Imola, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
After a difficult start to the season, McLaren enjoyed their best performance of the early part of the year at the last round in Australia, finishing fifth and sixth. Although McLaren have secured third and sixth on the grid for tomorrow’s sprint race, Norris says the result has more to do with the team making the most of the wet conditions, rather than having turned around their raw performance.

“I think it’s difficult to say,” he said. “These conditions made a big difference for us today, and I think that’s why we’re in the position we were. I think if it was completely dry, we wouldn’t be in third place.

“We made the most of today, of course, and we’ve given ourselves the best opportunity to score some good points this weekend. So that’s the aim.”

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2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “Norris says front row start was within reach before Q3 crash”

  1. Good to see that both McLarens appear to have pace.

  2. Yes, they had good performance throughout quali.

  3. Is McLaren 3rd fastest team?

  4. Shame Danny couldn’t get another lap in before the red flag will tuff to over take in the racing

  5. Mr Scallywag
    23rd April 2022, 1:05

    Lando’s a funny one. So good in the wet until he’s not.

  6. Like I said in Melbourne, the rules for yellows must be tweaked. Tweaked in line with other categories such as motogp or even the americans!
    The cause of a red flag needs a deterrent, otherwise you end up with a doubt. Lando can say whatever but who knows.
    Sergio’s ridiculous 14 metre early braking excuse has to go, f1 promised yellow flag laps would not count but they do. Max lifted off significantly, more like a lift and coast but he did lift a lot yet you can’t condone racing under yellows, it is a grey area, someone will eventually exploit this or worse take it too far and hurt someone.

  7. Lando was flirting with that line all day long.

    He did something similar last year at Imola that cost him in qualy.

    Still, not bad if it gets you P3 on the grid, eh?

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