Lando Norris hits out at ‘stupid’ Max Verstappen critics after Imola pole

Verstappen continued his perfect record in qualifying in 2024 with pole position at Imola.

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Lando Norris has called out Max Verstappen’s critics for being “a bit stupid” after the Red Bull driver continued his incredible qualifying run to take pole at the 2024 Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP.

Verstappen became the first driver since Ayrton Senna to rack up eight consecutive pole positions – a run stretching back to last season – as the Dutchman produced a fine lap to start Sunday’s race from the front of the grid with a 1:14..

The Dutchman recovered from his disappointment in Miami, where Norris clinched his maiden F1 victory, to start ahead of the McLarens with Oscar Piastri in second and Norris third.

There was less than a tenth of a second separating the trio with fine margins the difference in Italy, but Norris didn’t appear to be too surprised to see Verstappen claim another pole.

“It’s almost impossible to overtake here, especially when the the gaps are so small. But you’re always trying to take advantage of other people’s mistakes and struggles,” Norris told the written press at Imola including Total-Motorsport.com.

“As bad as it sounds you try and take advantage of of those times. And I know Max doesn’t look so slow this weekend, but I think if anyone doubted Red Bull or him coming back and doing a good job in qualifying there, they’re a bit stupid. I think we expected him to kind of be back on track and it’s annoying to miss out to him once again in qualifying.”

McLaren retain Miami momentum

It was another huge stride forward for McLaren in their attempts to challenge at the front, outqualifying both Ferraris and being within touching distance of Verstappen’s RB20.

Lando Norris during practice for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | McLaren
Lando Norris during practice for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | McLaren

With Sergio Perez starting from 11th, Piastri and Norris will be able to use their strategies to take on Verstappen – and the Briton is confident that if they repeat their pace in Miami, they will be contenders to win the race.

“We’re close and I think we’re happy as a team with that we’ve all performed,” Norris added. “So if we can continue and have a strong race pace tomorrow like we had yesterday and like we had in Miami, then I think we can all look forward to a good race.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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