Lando Norris, McLaren, Interlagos, 2022

Unwell Norris ‘didn’t think I’d be driving’ before securing second-row start

2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Lando Norris admitted he didn’t think he’d be able to take part in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix sprint race after falling ill in the run-up to the race.

The McLaren driver did not attend the pre-race media activities at the circuit on Thursday as he was suffering from what his team said was a suspected bout of food poisoning.

However he arrived at the track on Friday and took advantage of mixed conditions in qualifying to put his car fourth on the grid for the sprint race.

“I’m happier now than what I was just because of how today’s gone,” said Norris after qualifying. “I’m still feeling pretty rough, probably don’t sound so good either, but I’m much better.

“Yesterday I was struggling a lot. I really didn’t think I was going to be driving today. So I’m good enough to drive and then go out and do some good laps, which I did today. So I’m happy because of that.”

Norris said the team might have achieved a better starting position had he left the garage earlier as rain arrived before the start of Q3, allowing him to run when the track was drier. However he noted that waiting longer in the garage gave them more time to ensure they joined the track on the correct tyre – a decision rivals Ferrari got wrong.

“I think we did a perfect job today from the team’s side and from my side,” he said. “I don’t think we could have done anything much better than what we did: So P1 in Q1, P2 in Q2.

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“P4 in the end, we went out last which maybe wasn’t a perfect decision in the end of the day. But we took away a lot of other risks by doing so and I still went P4 even with the wettest track. So I’m really happy.”

“Considering how I’m feeling, considering the pace we had, considering the pace I had, especially in Q1 and Q2 to be the quickest, gives me good confidence for the rest of the weekend,” he added.

Norris also welcomed Kevin Magnussen’s surprise pole position for the sprint race. He said the qualifying conditions “give drivers a better chance to do good things” and “it’s not all about the car on a day like today.”

“I feel like I proved that, I feel like KMag proved exactly that today,” Norris explained. “Maybe drivers as individuals prefer these conditions I think it’s where we can shine a little bit more in and show what we can do.”

Having out-qualified both Ferraris plus a Mercedes and a Red Bull, Norris expects it will be hard to keep them behind by the end of Sunday’s grand prix.

“I think things will even out a little bit,” he said. “You’re going to see the Red Bulls coming back through. You’re going to see Ferrari coming back through a bit. Mercedes as well.

“So I think things will slowly return to normal. Maybe not just [in the sprint race], I think most people might be able to keep positions, but throughout and until Sunday you’ll see that.”

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2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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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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    4 comments on “Unwell Norris ‘didn’t think I’d be driving’ before securing second-row start”

    1. Great work from Lando. Super impressive Friday for someone clearly still recovering.
      Let’s hope the positivity remains through the weekend. McLaren were seriously doubting if they would be competitive here, and maybe the weather conditions have helped, but fingers crossed for a good sprint to maintain position, then an even better race. Stay out of trouble and a cheeky podium could be available if others are less careful

    2. Why does Lando seem to do extra well when he’s on the cusp of illness

    3. Yeah well nice for kevin amd lando of course but that wasnt the qualifying for the race yet, the sprint will set the grid. Another dissapointment due to the sprint format

    4. Projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea (I had to look up the correct spelling … )

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