Lando Norris felt he would have been starting the Miami Grand Prix from P6 rather than P8 if a mistake had not crept in.
On the face of it, starting Formula 1’s first ever Miami Grand Prix from P8 represents a solid effort from Norris and although he is happy with that grid slot, the Briton could not overlook what he felt was a costly error.
Norris explained he made a mistake on his last Q3 lap, which meant he gave up a few tenths of a second and went slower than in Q2.
And without that, he thinks it would have been him starting from P6 instead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
The chequered flag flies on qualifying. 🏁
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) May 7, 2022
“I’m happy. It’s very tricky, very tough to put the laps together, just easy to make mistakes,” he told reporters after Q3.
“Maybe not the happiest. I made a mistake on my final lap, I didn’t go as quick as I did in Q2. I just made one small mistake, it just cost me so much.
“It hurt a little bit because I could have maybe been two positions ahead. The mistakes maybe cost me a couple of tenths and that would have been two positions.
“So a bit annoyed about that, but nevertheless I’m still happy. It was a tough day. I think we made good progress all weekend from where we were. We didn’t think we’d be even in Q3, so I’m happy, and a good chance for us to score some points tomorrow.”
With McLaren performing better than expected and some time still left on the table, surely that translates into optimism for the race for Norris?
Although he feels he could have been a few places higher on the grid, he does not believe the error left him clearly out of position and so is not expecting progress to come easy.
“It’s tough, I don’t think we are out of position, let’s say,” he said.
“I felt like I was driving well today and putting the laps in, even though I made the mistake at the end.
“Just because we are behind doesn’t necessarily mean we have a much better car than them, because of where I was in Q2. We will see, it’s a bit of unexplored territory with the race, doing so many laps on a single set of tyres, the track, how it will change throughout the race with the stones and the cr*p that’s on it.
“But we are in a good position, so we can score some good points from there.”
Norris’ team-mate Daniel Ricciardo will start some way back in P14, the Australian having now been outqualified by Norris for the last nine races.
He explained a problem in the garage had meant he was very late onto the track for his last Q2 lap, so did not get the chance to prepare his tyres correctly.
“Q1 we were looking all right, Q1 there were no issues, and then Q2 ultimately the last run we had an issue in the garage so we couldn’t get out,” he said.
“We finally did get out, but it was with I think two-seconds margin to the flag, so we had to push on the out-lap and couldn’t do tyre prep.
“So obviously compromised – shame, because I know it’s only Q1 but I think we were in a solid spot looking at that and I think we could have had a much different day with a little better fortune.”
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