Norris expects he’ll be “lapped twice” after qualifying third

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by and

Lando Norris claimed third on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix but predicted he will be lapped twice in today’s race.

Despite achieving his highest starting position of the year in Spain Norris does not expect his McLaren to keep up with the likes of championship leaders Red Bull who have Max Verstappen starting in pole position.

Red Bull’s other car, driven by Sergio Perez, will start in 11th after struggling in qualifying. But Norris expects the second RB19 will rapidly progress through the field and does not expect to give him much of a fight.

“I probably won’t defend them to be honest, we’ll just let them pass,” Norris told media including RaceFans.

“It’s going to be a tough one, not just with them, they’re probably the easy people to race against. It’s going to be the Ferraris, the Astons, the Mercedes, the Alpines, the Haas… the grid.

“Those cars are probably too quick for us and Sergio’s going to cruise past everyone and probably be P2 by lap 10 and we’ll get lapped twice. I’m optimistic when I say that, could be three times.

“So, I think we’re still in a tight race with people but our race is not necessarily the Red Bulls.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

While Norris qualified in third, team mate Oscar Piastri also reached Q3 but a mistake in the final sector of his last lap left him 10th.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Norris claimed his highest starting position since Monza last year
The team’s strong showing came after McLaren brought upgrades to the last two weekends following a disappointing start to the year. However Norris doesn’t believe they have made as much progress as it seems.

“Nothing’s really changed on the car,” Norris, who finished ninth in Monaco, added. “It just suited these conditions today. I think we both felt very comfortable and I think Oscar would have been up there too.

“So I don’t know why. I think just a bit more confidence with the rears and just a bit more confidence to lean on the car, lean on the tyres and just seemed more for us than what it seemed for some other people.

“Where we’re going to be tomorrow is a tough one. I think on average we’ve been the fifth-best, sixth-best team, so I’m not really expecting a huge amount better than that tomorrow – we weren’t expecting to be P3 today.”

Norris suspects the change to the circuit layout this year, bypassing the final chicane and using the original quick final two corners instead, came to McLaren’s advantage in qualifying due to their strength in high-speed corners.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

His team mate, meanwhile, was disappointed with his qualifying result. After being sixth-fastest in Q2, Piastri was on course for another good lap in the final session until a mistake on a partly wet and dry track cost him a big opportunity to start higher up.

“I was obviously on a decent lap until that point,” Piastri said. “I braked a little bit too late for turn 10, missed the apex a little bit and then hit a wet part of the track and it was game over from there.

“I’m pretty frustrated with myself in all honesty, it was a good session until then. Just messed up when it counted. I think we should’ve had both cars up towards the front.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Spanish Grand Prix articles

Author information

Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

8 comments on “Norris expects he’ll be “lapped twice” after qualifying third”

  1. Red Bull may seem to be two categories ahead of the rest, but I’m sure that’s not enough to put this article into “Formula 3” category ;) .

  2. Twice under normal circumstances without him getting an early pit stop for front wing change or any other magnifying issues is unrealistic, so I don’t know why he thinks something such drastic.
    Williams drivers, maybe, & possibly also MAG, BOT at the most, but the rest would realistically get lapped once by the eventual winner up to maybe Alpines & or Stroll.
    Mclaren getting lapped twice on merit is simply an unrealistic prospect.

  3. Norris downplaying his chances. Nothing new. He’s often overly pessimistic I have noticed.

    1. @spafrancorchamps In hindsight, it seems that Norris was being realistic in his statement, as I find to be the case most of the time when he is asked to predict the future. I for one find his realistic attitude a refreshing break from the usual public relations line toed by so many professional sportsmen.

      1. @ferrox-glideh My comment sure backfired on Sunday. You got that right.

  4. Doubt anyone who doesn’t run into trouble will be lapped twice.

  5. Seems like they sacrificed race pace for a good qualification. This might make sense on a circuit like Monaco, but makes no sense here.

  6. Classic Norris, but Spain does tend to have many lapped cars.

    In 2022, effectively only five cars stayed within a minute of the winner (P6 was like +59.9), the top 8 was on the lead lap, and three cars were lapped twice. In 2021, only four cars were within a minute, seven on the lead lap, and two cars were lapped twice. In 2020, only three cars were on the lead lap and two were lapped twice. In 2019 there was a long safety car about three quarters into the race so only the two Williams cars were lapped. And again in 2018 there were only five cars on the lead lap, with no fewer than six cars being lapped twice or more.

Comments are closed.