Norris shocked with P4, targets beating Ferrari
McLaren conceded after Friday practice that Racing Point were out of their reach, but not only did Norris outqualify both of them, he also comfortably beat both Ferraris and finished Q3 just over a tenth down on Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
It’s comfortably Norris’ best qualifying performance to date, and he, like the rest of us, was shocked to be ahead of Racing Point after Sergio Perez qualified P6 and Lance Stroll P9.
“We had our expectations of where we thought we want to be, and from the very beginning the Racing Points have been extremely quick,” he told Sky F1.
“We never thought we would be in with a chance of beating them, or getting close to them, but in qualifying the car started to come alive and I felt much better. This track last year was really good for us, we had confidence in the car and it suits us, so hopefully the race tomorrow goes well. We have two weekends of this, so hopefully we can repeat ourselves.”
Looking ahead to the race, Norris says he will be looking forward at Verstappen and both Mercedes. But as for those behind, while he is keeping a watch on Racing Point, he expects Ferrari to be the biggest threat.
The Scuderia were underwhelming to say the least in qualifying with Charles Leclerc claiming P7 on the grid, whilst team-mate Sebastian Vettel starts all the way down in P11.
Asked if Racing Point’s race pace worried Norris, he said: “They were definitely quicker than us on Friday, which is why we weren’t expecting this at all.
“I 100% take it for now, but as much as I’ll be looking ahead in the race and trying to go forward I think there are a lot of [fast] cars behind, Ferrari especially, their race pace is very strong.
“For some reason their qualy pace is a long way off, but so is Racing Point’s.
“They have a good car, a lot of downforce, I think they can look after their tyres slightly better than us.
“It’s going to be a difficult job but if I can stay around Ferrari then I will be happy.
“The car feels nice, I have good confidence, it’s our best position for many years in qualifying, but the race is another story.”