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Norris thrilled with lap that he 'should be on pole with'

Lando Norris split the Mercedes cars by qualifying in fifth for the French Grand Prix, and the McLaren driver feels that he is in the "best position" possible for Sunday's race.

Lando Norris was left thrilled with a lap that he felt was pole position-worthy in qualifying for the French Grand Prix. The Briton split the two Mercedes cars by taking P5 in Saturday's session, putting him just behind Lewis Hamilton but ahead of George Russell. Norris admitted afterwards that even reaching Q3 at the Circuit Paul Ricard had exceeded his pre-qualifying expectations. "It has been a very good day," he explained. "Before qualifying, we were discussing whether we should even talk about Q3, because it was very far away from what we thought we could achieve."

Norris felt he "should be on pole" with lap

Norris thought that he had set a very strong lap, so much so that he felt it was worthy of putting him in P1. "I'm happy; I mean my lap in Q3 felt like a really good lap, the type of lap that you feel like you should be on pole with!" the Briton said. "In other categories if you do this lap, I feel like I'd be very happy with that, and if I'm not on pole then I'd be surprised but I was still like one-and-a-bit seconds away. "But apart from that, the team have done a good job and I feel like I've done a good job extracting everything, so we are in the best position we could be for tomorrow."

How McLaren stand in battle with Alpine

McLaren are currently equal on points with Alpine as they battle for fourth in the Constructors' Championship, and Norris' result puts him ahead of Fernando Alonso on the grid, who qualified in seventh. Norris is hopeful of being able to battle with the two-time World Champion in Sunday's race. "We weren't expecting Q3 today, so to be P5 is a good step," he continued. "I'm hoping a similar scenario happens tomorrow, where we're thinking it might be a tough race but hopefully it's just a really easy one! "We'll see, but I'm expecting a good race and a good battle with Fernando, and maybe not the Mercedes, but I'll try." Norris' teammate Daniel Ricciardo will line up in P11.

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