Norris on sprint race pole

Norris on sprint race pole

At the end of an eventful qualifying session due to rain, Lando Norris set the best time and will start in pole position for the sprint race of the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday in his McLaren.

The first of the six sprint races of the season will take place on Saturday on the occasion of the grand return of the Chinese Grand Prix, and it is Lando Norris who will start on pole for this sprint (at 5:00 a.m. French time) which will consist of 19 laps. In the rain, the British driver was one second and two tenths ahead of his compatriot Lewis Hamilton, after a small imbroglio. It was in fact Hamilton who was initially announced as poleman, but Norris’s time of 1’57″940, which had been canceled for a moment because he had exceeded the limits of the track, was reinstated by the race stewards, who felt that he had not gained any time by going out of the corner on this wet track.

All wearing intermediate tires, the drivers had a few scares. Charles Leclerc notably hit the wall in turn 9, without gravity. Max Verstappen went too wide in turn 6, forcing the stewards to cancel his time. Ditto for the star of the day, the Chinese Guanyu Zhou, a few moments later. The Norris-Hamilton duo ultimately beat Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jr, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Oscar Piastri, Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou.

The Alpine still far behind

During Q1, contested only with medium tires, in the wind and cold, it was Sergio Perez, on the Red Bull, who achieved the best time in 1’36″110, while the Alpine drivers Pierre Gasly (16th) and Esteban Ocon (17th) were unable to qualify for Q2. They may have regrets, because Gasly failed by only 88 thousandths, while Ocon benefits from a new flat bottom for this Grand Prix and he hoped that that would make the difference. Q2, also contested on medium tires, started a little late due to another fire, this time in turn 5.

The same incident had already occurred during the first free practice session, probably due to a spark coming from a car (it was not yet raining at that time). Max Vertappen was the fastest, in 1’35″606, while drivers like Daniel Ricciardo or Lance Stroll (even though he won the free practice session) did not make the cut. On Saturday, after the sprint race which will see the first eight win by eight to one point, the drivers will compete in another qualification, but this time for the Grand Prix (at 9 a.m. French time).

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