Lando Norris secured a front-row start for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix and did not rule out a chance of beating Max Verstappen on Sunday.
Although he did leave himself slim odds, noting the superior speed of the Red Bull and the better tyre management that the Verstappen and RB19 combination possesses.
Norris also revealed he made mistakes on his final run but that the time lost was inconsequential when it came to dislodging the Dutchman from pole.
“I’ll challenge him probably for two laps and then he will drive away,” Norris joked to select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “I think there’s quite a bit of tyre degradation here and not our forte when it comes into play.
“We struggled quite a bit in certain corners, but we’ve improved the car quite a bit I think since Friday so I want to be a little more hopeful.
“I’m not going to say no [on the chance of victory]. I think Max is always on another level when it comes to Sunday, and tyre degradation and race pace so there’s opportunities but it’s going to be tough.”
Norris’ final lap mistakes
The British driver did feel as though he had a shot at pole position, after previously coming close in Silverstone and Budapest but a first pole position since 2021 evaded the McLaren racer.
Norris noted that he made mistakes on his final lap, but also added that he felt they did not ultimately cost him anything as Verstappen qualified half a second ahead.
“I was one second up after already six corners,” Norris said. “So you can get really excited but you know, everyone else was doing a kind of similar thing.
“So my first half of the lap was very good but my second half was pretty terrible. I had a double shift out Turn 10 probably cost me a couple of tenths.
“But at the same time nothing would have got me enough to get past Max.”
Tribute to Woking
McLaren are one of Formula 1’s success stories in 2023. After initially being one of the slowest cars, the Woking-based team now finds themselves either the second fastest, or close to it.
Norris made no secret of his gratitude to the team for the turn around they have managed to produce as they become a fantastic advert for the modern regulations.
“We come to a track which we know suits us a bit more and we printed today again,” Norris added. “So the team have done an excellent job, I’ve said it countless times but they’ve really made a massive step forward.
“From where we were to where we are now and is like this when you reward them. is always a good thing.”