McLaren driver Lando Norris has said he was “gutted” to let an opportunity at pole position slip by in a rain-drenched end to qualifying for the Brazilian GP.
Despite the team’s drivers ended first practice at the bottom of the timing charts, their performance during the session suggested they could be contenders for pole position around Interlagos as they continue to chase down Red Bull at the top.
And after topping Q2, it looked like Norris was the most likely candidate to challenge Max Verstappen for pole position for the grand prix during Friday qualifying as part of the Sprint weekend.
However those hopes were washed away with a massive storm in Sao Paolo, and Verstappen’s lap time set early in Q3 proved good enough for pole, while Norris had to settle for seventh and teammate Oscar Piastri failed to set a time after a spin at Turn 12.
“It was great honestly the car was amazing, easily probably quick enough to be quickest I’d today and be on pole so pretty gutted for that to end the way we did,” Norris told F1TV after the session.
“I don’t know I know how to feel about it. I think the car was amazing, it came alive a lot in qualifying and it was easily good enough to be quickest I’d say, delivering the lap and putting it together in Q3 and everything’s a different job.
“Easily quick enough so yeah, disappointed, but not a lot we could have done.”
More to come
Despite missing out on an opportunity for pole for the main grand prix, McLaren will have another shot at the front row during the Sprint Shootout.
And given the pace the team showed during qualifying, Norris said he remains confident the car has the speed to mount a more serious challenge to Verstappen and Red Bull in the Saturday sessions.
“I look forward to tomorrow. The car is good, I don’t know if it’s going to be good in the wet, and if it’s going to be wet or dry tomorrow, but in the dry we should be quick enough,” Norris said.