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Norris has pole feeling after McLaren woes

Norris has pole feeling after McLaren woes

F1 News

Norris has pole feeling after McLaren woes

Norris has pole feeling after McLaren woes

Lando Norris has declared finishing fourth in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix felt "like a pole position" after McLaren's early-season woes.

Norris, who struggled to get out of Q1 in the season-opening race in Bahrain before then missing out on Q3 again in Saudi Arabia, claims some “small steps forward” have put him back amongst the front runners at Melbourne's Albert Park.

Asked if he expected to be so strong after the disappointment of the first two races, Norris said: “Oh, no, no. It’s nice to be this far up.

"A very good result for us, it feels like a pole position in some ways from where we’ve been the last few weekends.

“I guess we are still a long way off on pace but position-wise to be a lot further up is nice to see. A good reward for myself, a good reward for the team [but] whether or not the car’s made much progress is hard to say."

On why the position has improved, Norris added: “We’ve been working well as a team to try and find as much as possible and the hard work part of it has moved us ahead of Mercedes this weekend.

“The rest of it is the track and, you know, the car just suiting it again a little bit more. Whatever the reason is, I am just happy to be much further up and have a car that’s much quicker.”

Norris looking forward to battle with Russell

Norris, who will start ahead of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, acknowledged the Alpine of Fernando Alonso would have been in the mix had he not crashed out of the final part of qualifying.

The British trio were covered by just over two-tenths of a second between fourth and sixth in qualifying and Norris is now looking forward to finally battling old junior formula rival and friend Russell.

“It’s been a while,” he said. “Really, F2 I would say since we had our last good battles in Monza or something. I look forward to it. I think we can have some good racing and hopefully, we can race them more often.

“Normally the race pace from the Mercedes is also very strong and tends to be a bit stronger than ours, so we will see what we can do. We have better pace than we expected today and hopefully that can continue into tomorrow.

“I am confident we can still have some good results. I’ve one red car behind me that I am not expecting to be fighting too much, but I think a fight with the Mercedes and also the Alpines.

“They have looked a bit quicker than us this weekend, especially with Fernando but he ended up in the wall [in qualifying], so it’s not going to be an easy race but that’s part of it, it’s a good challenge.”

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