Norris Snags Pole in Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifier

Norris Outspeeds Verstappen for Spanish GP Pole!


Norris claims pole at the Spanish GP, edging out Verstappen. Mercedes and Ferrari follow closely, with Alpine in Q3.

The Free Practice sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix were very promising, with four teams within two tenths during the final free practice. The final standings of these FP3 even showed four drivers within one tenth.

Consequently, an animated and especially tight qualifying session can be expected, with possible surprises. Max Verstappen, whose Red Bull RB20 is receiving upgrades this weekend, is the favourite for the pole, but only narrowly ahead of a group of drivers.

Opposing him, much is expected from the McLaren drivers, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, the Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, and from Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, the Mercedes incumbents. Sergio Pérez was in this group this morning, despite still being clearly behind Verstappen.

Note that the Mexican will incur a three-place grid penalty, as he raced with a damaged wing in Canada, and the FIA has penalized him for it, considering it dangerous to return to the pit.

Lance Stroll received a reprimand for deliberately crashing into Hamilton, which the stewards labeled as “erratic driving”. However, the Canadian driver admitted he intentionally wanted to get closer to his opponent to show his discontent, which somewhat disqualifies the term “erratic”.

Leclerc did the same to Norris, and he also received a reprimand. He explains wanting to move off the racing line and misjudging his rival’s position. Yet, he was annoyed before doing so, but the stewards did not want to prejudge a voluntary nature of the action.

One might still wonder why the stewards are lenient with incidents that seem voluntary and are, in any case, very dangerous, and leave the door open to similar maneuvers in the future. With these deliberations, only Pérez will therefore be penalized on the grid.

Q1 – 18 minutes

Logan Sargeant set the first best time at 1’14″301, beaten by Daniel Ricciardo at 1’13″771. Yuki Tsunoda slotted in between the two men, while Lance Stroll placed ahead of the Japanese.

Pérez set the best time at 1’13″090, and Alex Albon placed second three tenths behind. Verstappen did much better at 1’12″306, and Piastri placed between the Red Bulls. Hamilton beat the Australian, but these three drivers are seven tenths off Verstappen.

Norris did better by placing at 0″080 from Verstappen. Fernando Alonso set the sixth time, just behind Pérez, and Esteban Ocon positioned just behind the Spaniard, before being immediately beaten by Valtteri Bottas.

And Leclerc agreed everyone at 1’12″257, while Nico Hülkenberg set a very nice fifth provisional time, before Pierre Gasly placed just in front of him. Russell placed ahead of the Frenchman, within two tenths of Leclerc.

Albon then managed to move up to 12th place. Pérez moved up sixth two tenths off his teammate, and Bottas took seventh place a half-second behind, right in front of Guanyu Zhou who also moved up to eighth place. Ocon slotted between Pérez and Bottas. Kevin Magnussen moved up to tenth.

Piastri took cover in sixth place, and Hamilton took the top time at 1’12″143. Ricciardo moved up to 15th place, and Alonso did better in ninth place, eliminating Ricciardo. Gasly moved up to tenth just ahead of Ocon.

Tsunoda improved, as did Stroll, but the Japanese did not pass, unlike Hülkenberg who moved up to 12th place, eliminating his teammate. Sargeant improved, in vain.

The eliminated were Magnussen, Tsunoda, Ricciardo, Albon, and Sargeant.

Q2 – 15 minutes

Stroll set the first significant time at 1’13″360, as all drivers took to the track. This time eight tenths slower than his Q1 time is slow for the Aston Martin driver, who was on used soft tires. Note that Hamilton and Zhou are also using a set of already used tires on this first run.

Ocon set the best time at 1’12″376, a nice time immediately beaten by Pérez at 1’12″270. Gasly did even better at 1’12″182, while Hülkenberg took third place, and Alonso placed fifth. Bottas did better than the Spaniard.

Leclerc agreed everyone at 1’12″038, but with less than two tenths margin over the Alpine. Piastri beat the Monegasque at 1’12″011, before yielding the session lead to Sainz, who clocked a time of 1’11″874.

And Norris did better than the Spaniard with a time of 1’11″872, just two-thousandths faster than the Ferrari! And it’s Verstappen who took the best time at 1’11″653. Russell placed sixth and Hamilton only 13th, on used tyres.

On new soft tyres, Stroll moved up to the tenth position. A time likely insufficient for advancing to Q3, with all his rivals yet to make a final attempt.

Hamilton posted a very good time with his new tyres, climbing to 0″139 off Verstappen in second place. Ocon moved up to seventh, less than half a second off the top time. Hülkenberg did not manage better than 12th.

Gasly repositioned ahead of Ocon, and Pérez led both men. Alonso also improved, but did no better than 11th and will not advance to Q3! Russell moved up to third. Bottas recorded the 12th time. The two Alpines advance to Q3!

The eliminated were Alonso, Bottas, Hülkenberg, Stroll, and Zhou.

Q3 – 12 minutes

The Red Bull drivers were the first on the track in this Q3, and Pérez recorded the first time at 1’13″061 on used tyres. Verstappen went wide in the second sector but managed a time of 1’11″673, with new tyres. Ocon positioned just ahead of Pérez, while Sainz recorded the second fastest time.

Piastri placed third, eight tenths off Verstappen, while Gasly positioned just ahead of Ocon, also on used tyres. Norris was at 0″123 from Verstappen, and Leclerc took the fourth fastest time.

The Mercedes drivers, on new tyres, finished their laps and positioned provisionally on the second row, Hamilton and Russell being less than two tenths off Verstappen. Piastri had his time disqualified for exceeding track limits.

Russell was frustrated with Hamilton, who was apparently slow during his out lap. “What was Lewis doing on his prep lap?” the Englishman asked, annoyed. His engineer told him they would discuss it at the debriefing and asked him to focus.

After his disqualified time, Piastri went out again, this time on new tyres, and was among the first on track for his fast lap. The goal was to have a clear track for the Australian.

Pérez did no better than seventh, while Piastri made a mistake and went off into the gravel! This marked the end of the session without a time for the McLaren driver.

Sainz placed second at 0″063 off Verstappen, and Leclerc did better by 5 thousandths! Verstappen improved to 1’11″403, and Norris was the only one who could challenge the Dutchman for pole.

And Norris did better at 1’11″383! Hamilton took third and Russell fourth, but it was indeed the McLaren driver who claimed pole position for this Spanish Grand Prix! Gasly finished seventh ahead of Pérez, who will start 11th with his penalty, then Ocon and Piastri.

Qualifying times

01Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes MCL381:12.3861:11.8721:11.383
02Max VerstappenRed Bull Honda RBPT RB201:12.3061:11.6531:11.403
03Lewis HamiltonMercedes W151:12.1431:11.7921:11.701
04George RussellMercedes W151:12.4561:11.8121:11.703
05Charles LeclercFerrari SF-241:12.2571:12.0381:11.731
06Carlos SainzFerrari SF-241:12.4031:11.8741:11.736
07Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault A5241:12.6511:12.0791:11.857
08Sergio PérezRed Bull Honda RBPT RB201:12.4771:12.0541:12.061
09Esteban OconAlpine Renault A5241:12.6911:12.1091:12.125
10Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes MCL381:12.4601:12.011
11Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Mercedes AMR241:12.5051:12.128
12Valtteri BottasStake F1 Kick Sauber C441:12.7581:12.227
13Nico HülkenbergHaas Ferrari VF-241:12.7081:12.310
14Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes AMR241:12.8811:12.372
15Guanyu ZhouStake F1 Kick Sauber C441:12.8801:12.738
16Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari VF-241:12.937
17Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT VCARB 011:12.985
18Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT VCARB 011:13.075
19Alex AlbonWilliams Mercedes FW461:13.153
20Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes FW461:13.509

Norris Snags Pole in Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifier!. Norris Snags Pole in Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifier!. f1 2024 Norris Snags Pole in Thrilling Spanish GP Qualifier!

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