Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

Norris takes pole off Verstappen by two-hundredths of a second on final lap

2024 Spanish GP qualifying report

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Lando Norris secured his first pole position of the 2024 season in Barcelona, pipping Max Verstappen by just 0.020s in qualifying.

The McLaren driver managed to beat Verstappen’s fastest lap with his final effort to take his third pole position of his career. Lewis Hamilton will line up alongside the pair in third.

Q1

For the first time in the weekend, clouds over the Circuit de Catalunya greeted teams as qualifying began. Track temperatures were lower than they had been for the three practice sessions, but not dramatically so.

Max Verstappen put his Red Bull quickest of all by posting comfortably the fastest time of the weekend so far with a 1’12.306. That was beaten, however, by Charles Leclerc by a whisker under five-hundredths of a second as all drivers immediately employed the soft compound for the opening phase of qualifying.

After several incidents of drivers complaining about traffic in final practice, Lance Stroll was unhappy Logan Sargeantgot in his way at turn 10 during his first flying lap. The stewards will investigate the incident after qualifying.

Williams took advantage of a completely clear track to send Alexander Albon out for his final run in the session. He used the lack of traffic to jump from the drop zone into 12th, but with a handful of minutes still remaining for his rivals to improve.

With under two minutes remaining, both RBs of Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu’s Sauber, Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Sargeant’s Williams were in danger of being eliminated at the first hurdle.

Zhou improved to go safe, joining his team mate into Q2. Magnussen gained time on his final run but was half a tenth away from safety in 16th, becoming the fastest driver eliminated. He was joined by both RBs of Tsunoda and Ricciardo, with Albon slipping down to 19th by the chequered flag. Sargeant was eliminated slowest, three tenths slower than his team mate.

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Q1 result

P. # Driver Team Model Time Gap
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W15 1’12.143
2 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-24 1’12.257 0.114
3 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB20 1’12.306 0.163
4 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL38 1’12.386 0.243
5 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari SF-24 1’12.403 0.260
6 63 George Russell Mercedes W15 1’12.456 0.313
7 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes MCL38 1’12.460 0.317
8 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB20 1’12.477 0.334
9 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR24 1’12.505 0.362
10 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault A524 1’12.651 0.508
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A524 1’12.691 0.548
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas-Ferrari VF-24 1’12.708 0.565
13 77 Valtteri Bottas Sauber-Ferrari C44 1’12.758 0.615
14 24 Zhou Guanyu Sauber-Ferrari C44 1’12.880 0.737
15 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR24 1’12.881 0.738
16 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-24 1’12.937 0.794
17 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB-Honda RBPT 01 1’12.985 0.842
18 3 Daniel Ricciardo RB-Honda RBPT 01 1’13.075 0.932
19 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW46 1’13.153 1.010
20 2 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes FW46 1’13.509 1.366

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Q2

Lance Stroll’s antics in the final practice session, driving into Lewis Hamilton in frustration at being held up and earning a reprimand, appeared to make the rest of the field reluctant to join him on track at the start of Q2. He had a entirely clear track in which to post the first time of the session, and produced a 1’13.630 on his used soft tyres.

Eventually the other 14 remaining drivers returned to the track with under ten minutes remaining. Many of the likely Q3 candidates headed out with fresh soft rubber.

Verstappen broke into the 1’11s with his first effort, going to the top with a 1’11.653. Lando Norris was two tenths slower than the world champion in second, while Carlos Sainz Jnr was just 0.002s behind the McLaren driver in third.

Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were the two biggest names sat in the drop zone in the closing minutes, with both needing to make improvements to have a chance of reaching Q3. Hamilton made a big step with fresh tyres, going second, but Alonso could not make his home fans happy as he fell just 0.019s short of safety at the chequered flag.

Valtteri Bottas was the next driver eliminated in 12th, with Nico Hulkenberg failing to reach Q3 in 13th. Stroll made his final run with a clear track out of sequence with the rest of the field once again but was knocked out in 14th, with Zhou the slowest of the 15 drivers and joining his team mate in elimination.

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Q2 result

Lance Stroll’s antics in the final practice session, driving into Lewis Hamilton in frustration at being held up and earning a reprimand, appeared to make the rest of the field reluctant to join him on track at the start of Q2. He had a entirely clear track in which to post the first time of the session, and produced a 1’13.630 on his used soft tyres.

Eventually the other 14 remaining drivers returned to the track with under ten minutes remaining. Many of the likely Q3 candidates headed out with fresh soft rubber.

Verstappen broke into the 1’11s with his first effort, going to the top with a 1’11.653. Lando Norris was two tenths slower than the world champion in second, while Carlos Sainz Jnr was just 0.002s behind the McLaren driver in third.

Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were the two biggest names sat in the drop zone in the closing minutes, with both needing to make improvements to have a chance of reaching Q3. Hamilton made a big step with fresh tyres, going second, but Alonso could not make his home fans happy as he fell just 0.019s short of safety at the chequered flag.

Valtteri Bottas was the next driver eliminated in 12th, with Nico Hulkenberg failing to reach Q3 in 13th. Stroll made his final run with a clear track out of sequence with the rest of the field once again but was knocked out in 14th, with Zhou the slowest of the 15 drivers and joining his team mate in elimination.

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Q3

There were several drivers who appeared to have a genuine chance of fighting for pole position or a front row start as the final top ten shootout began, but Verstappen remained the favourite to add his tally of seven poles from the opening nine rounds.

Verstappen proved he was the driver to beat by posting a 1:11.673 to set the provisional pole time. That was a tenth of a second quicker than Norris and the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell.

Oscar Piastri opted to make only a single run but an error through turn 12 saw him run wide and only the gravel, ending his session without a valid lap.

Verstappen improved on his own provisional pole time by two tenths to look set to secure the top spot on the grid, only for Norris to pip him by just 0.020s to deny the world champion pole for the second straight race weekend.

Hamilton just beat team mate George Russell by two-thousandths of a second to claim third on the grid, with the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz behind the Mercedes.

Pierre Gasly took seventh for Alpine and his team mate Esteban Ocon will join him on the fourth row after Perez takes his penalty. Piastri failed to set a time after going off the track at the end of his sole run in Q3.

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Q3 result

P. # Driver Team Model Time Gap
1 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL38 1’11.383
2 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB20 1’11.403 0.020
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W15 1’11.701 0.318
4 63 George Russell Mercedes W15 1’11.703 0.320
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-24 1’11.731 0.348
6 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari SF-24 1’11.736 0.353
7 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault A524 1’11.857 0.474
8 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB20 1’12.061 0.678
9 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A524 1’12.125 0.742
10 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes MCL38 No time

2024 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

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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16 comments on “Norris takes pole off Verstappen by two-hundredths of a second on final lap”

  1. I wouldn’t bet against Max for the win tomorrow, but at least it seems to be tightening up at the top now.

    Could be some interesting Team-Mate fights as well. Even at the back where Danny and Yuki may not see eye to eye.

  2. Congratulation. Well done Norris.

  3. A very nice tow for norris according to Zak B.
    So exiting to see tomorrow. Long track to the first corner.

    1. Max had also a tow from perez.

  4. Great to see Lando on pole but I still think Max will shade it tomorrow. He’s so used to being at the sharp end in every race that he won’t hesitate in pushing forward, elbows out and all.

    If Lando does win the race it will be one heck of a statement from McLaren. Fingers-crossed!

  5. If the top 3 start well, i expect the same drivers to finish on the podium if nothing unusual happens, but with Verstappen ahead.

  6. Nice and close but I fear for the race. The Grand Prix of Tire Saving might be a lot less interesting

  7. I put it down to the email.

  8. Tommy Scragend
    22nd June 2024, 19:41

    Lewis Hamilton will line up alongside the pair in third.

    Are we having three cars on the front row? ;-)

    1. Every row will have three cars. It’s an adjustment F1 just made. I think it’ll be good for the show.

    2. Uhh, going back to the early years, I believe we had at least 3 cars per row back then!

  9. One interesting topic has arisen from this qualifying that has seemed to confirm Merc has solved its issues and now will probably be competitors for at least a WCC next year rather than just fourth best: will it change their driver calculus? I doubt it, but if it does, I wonder if they have a deal with Williams that gives them the ability to swap Sainz in. The only reason I can see him being asked to delay his announcement is that Mercedes wants to first work out a contract with Antonelli that is open-ended upon which he team he will drive for in the first and/or second seasons.

    1. Still too early. Even if their previous cars were loaded with issues, both did well in Spain too. And today even Alpine was within a small margin.

    2. An Sionnach
      22nd June 2024, 23:24

      Perhaps it might. With the current cars Max could win the championship in any of the top three, and perhaps the Ferrari, too. If Toto is still holding on for Max, then at least “the guys at the factory” have done all they can to woo him. I don’t have any reason to think that Max will switch. If he did, it would make the market interesting. Sainz would then be the best driver available to Red Bull, unless Alonso could somehow move. Of course, if Red Bull is third or fourth fastest next year, they need Max to have any chance at at the driver’s title.

      1. I think Toto’s hope is that Max will move to Mercedes on the basis of the rumors that Mercedes is going to be starting out with an engine advantage again. Being able to get their chassis in order though is just as important though in luring him away. If it looks like they’re solved those issues, even with a new formula coming up, they’re much more likely to have a chance of luring him away.

  10. Perhaps it might. With the current cars Max could win the championship in any of the top three

    Possibly. Though I guess the races must be dull for you given your advance knowledge of the results.

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