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Lando Norris

Norris 'clueless' for Sprint after wet-and-wild Chinese Shootout

Lando Norris took an unlikely pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix Sprint at the Shanghai International Circuit, in session that saw unpredictable conditions and a second fire of the day.

Norris sprint China
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Lando Norris claimed an improbable pole position for McLaren in the Sprint Shootout at the Chinese Grand Prix in a wet and treacherous session.

Having originally had his final lap time in SQ3 deleted, the reinstatement of that time vaulted him to pole and denied Lewis Hamilton a first Sprint pole since 2021.

It is Norris's second Sprint pole after Sao Paulo 2023, who conceded his nerves at the worsening conditions.

"It was tricky. You're always nervous going into a session like this. Especially for qualifying when you almost know it's going to rain.

"I was quite happy with how it was in the dry. I think we had good pace this weekend so far, so I got a bit nervous, but the conditions were – you've just got to risk a lot, you've got to push, build tyre temperature and so forth.

"But I was quick, I just kept catching the Ferrari. So, I had to keep backing off - I didn't do the first two laps well at all, and I got a good final one – a good enough one for pole, so I'm happy.

"It is sad it’s not for proper qualifying but it is good enough."

'Not a clue'

Norris highlighted how his final lap was all or nothing, with aquaplaning a trouble.

"I was a little bit nervous and I made a few mistakes, and started to aquaplane quite a bit. But it's good fun – gets your heart going and to end up on top is exactly what we wanted," he said.

When asked if he had any idea what to expect from his car, and what he would have underneath him for the Sprint, Norris explained he did not.

“Not a clue, but we did some of our homework this morning," Norris continued.

"We did some consecutive laps to try and understand, but it depends on what the weather is. There is still a chance of rain tomorrow. So, if it’s like this, then I think the chances are relatively decent.

“But the race is all very different to qualifying, so I’m sure everyone is going to catch up a bit tomorrow.

“But pace is good, whether wet or dry, and I think we’re in a good position."

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