Lando Norris joked that George Russell had put him in the shade by capturing pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The two friends and contemporaries enjoy a healthy rivalry and their respective pole tallies now stand at 1-1, with Norris having opened his account at Sochi last year.
The McLaren driver had also looked a potential contender for P1 at the Hungaroring at various points of qualifying, but eventually had to settle for fourth.
In between the two Britons will be Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who had looked set for a front-row lockout until Russell came along at the end to pip them, with Max Verstappen out of the picture due to a loss of power in his Red Bull having looked favourite throughout Q1 and Q2.
A second-row start for Norris is still a positive considering McLaren’s fluctuating pace this year – although he light-heartedly suggested he wished it had been he who was celebrating exuberantly rather than the Mercedes man.
“It’s a very good day for us,” Norris told Sky F1. “A little bit disappointed – George takes a bit of my glory away! But I’m very happy for him, his first pole in Formula 1, so congrats to him.
“But a strong day, ahead of the guys we want to be ahead of. P4 is very strong for us on a track that’s not easy to overtake on and I hope that’s the case tomorrow.
“Not far off pole. Considering where we were at the beginning of the season, I’m very happy with that.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) July 30, 2022
The “guys we want to be ahead of” to whom Norris referred are Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, although they will start immediately behind him.
Alpine are four points ahead of McLaren in the chase for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, which is the main ambition for both teams this term.
Put to him that his time deficit of just under four tenths of a second to the pole time was encouraging, Norris replied: “It is, 100%. I think if we look at last week, Alpine were definitely the quicker car still.
“I think this weekend, the car’s performed very well from the off and it’s performing in a strong place.
“We have a lot of things to work on if we want to be consistently ahead of Alpine, but the last few weeks have been like a good start to the end of the first half [of the season].”