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Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix 2024

Norris survives treacherous conditions and stewards scare for China Sprint pole

Lando Norris secured F1 Sprint pole in treacherous conditions in Shanghai ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Norris Rain China
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren's Lando Norris secured Sprint pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix in a wet-and-wild Shootout.

Heavy rain fell over the circuit ahead of SQ3 forcing drivers onto intermediate tyres in the low-grip conditions at the Shanghai International Circuit, with Charles Leclerc spinning his Ferrari into the barriers on his out-lap.

However, the drivers quickly settled into trading fastest times with Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes, Norris and Red Bull's Sergio Perez all taking provisional pole.

Norris' final lap was a 1:57.940s, but this was deleted for track limits which appeared to hand Hamilton a first career Sprint pole for Mercedes.

Just as the seven-time F1 champion was about to cross the line, however, to secure the position, the stewards reinstated Norris' lap earning him a second Sprint pole after São Paulo in 2023.

Hamilton returned to the front row of a Sprint for the first time since Britain 2021 as Alonso took third.

Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull, having had his time deleted at the death for running wide at Turn 16, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, Perez, Leclerc and the second McLaren of Oscar Piastri slotting in behind.

Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu made SQ3 for Stake, with the crowd erupting when they realised home favourite Zhou had advanced through SQ2.

Result Sprint shootout - Chinese

# Driver Team Time Tyre
Results are being loaded...

SQ3

Leclerc spun at Turn 9 on his out-lap, requiring a trip through the pits for a once-over and new set of intermediates, as Verstappen survived an off at Turn 4 in the increasingly treacherous conditions.

Perez then set his 2:00.455s effort with Bottas slotting in behind as Hamilton complained of his tyres not working.

Verstappen's final lap was purple, but he ran wide at Turn 16, skating through the gravel and Norris could also not find time.

Alonso then posted a 2:00.213s to vault to the head of the times, as Leclerc slotted into third in his first flying lap.

But Hamilton became the first driver to break the 1:59 barrier with a 1:59.321 to take provisional pole before Norris pumped in a 1:57.940 before it was deleted for track limits at Turn 16.

Hamilton completed his final lap, but as he did, Norris's deleted 1:57.940s was reinstated as he took pole, 1.261s ahead of Hamilton.

Russell eliminated in SQ2

Norris was the first driver to post a time in SQ2, being at the head of a queue that crept out of the pit-lane as drivers jockeyed for position.

Team-mate Piastri quickly went faster with Sainz and Alonso slotting in behind before Leclerc assumed top-spot on a 1:35.711.

The Red Bull and Mercedes duos were the final drivers to complete their initial runs, with Verstappen vaulting to the top on a 1:35.606, a tenth ahead of Leclerc and Perez.

After the first runs, Hamilton was ninth with Russell the wrong side of the cut-zone in 11th, but Russell was not able to improve as rain began to fall.

He was eliminated by just 0.038s from Zhou, as Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hülkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo and FP1 session-topper Lance Stroll were also eliminated.

Verstappen's time was good enough to head the segment.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Perez fastest as grass ignites

Rain began to fall during the early stages of SQ1, with Hamilton posting the early front-running time of a 1:37.239, before he was quickly usurped by Leclerc and Piastri as Norris then slotted in 0.004s down on Leclerc's time.

After Alonso briefly went top, Verstappen pumped in a 1:36.456 to jump half-a-second clear before Perez bettered his team-mate by 0.346s, and would top the segment.

At the end of the segment, Russell was under pressure and briefly dropped to the foot of the times, before a 1:37.310 was enough to secure him an SQ2 berth,

Alpine suffered a double-elimination with Pierre Gasly ahead of Esteban Ocon with the upgraded floor as Yuki Tsunoda was the meat in a Williams sandwich with Alex Albon 18th and Logan Sargeant 20th.

At the end of the session, the grass caught fire again, this time at Turn 5 as the sparks from the skid blocks ignited the bitumen and combusted the grass, leading to a delay for SQ2.

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