P4 ‘perfect start’ to McLaren’s big weekend

Lando Norris described securing his P4 position on the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the “perfect start” in McLaren’s quest to clinch third place in the Constructors’ World Championship.

It was a brilliant performance from Norris who, when pressed by Sky F1, admitted that it would have been a pole position lap if his McLaren had a Mercedes engine, as it will be next year.

The Briton was just 0.251 seconds behind the time set by Max Verstappen and will have his teammate Carlos Sainz immediately behind him on the grid after qualifying P6, the duo ahead of all Racing Points and Renaults.

Those three teams are still competing for third place behind Mercedes and Red Bull in the constructors’ standings, with Racing Point leading 10 points over McLaren, with Renault 12 further behind.

Significantly, Sakhir Grand Prix winner Sergio Pérez will start at the back of the grid at his Racing Point after being penalized for using too many engine parts this season.

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Norris told Sky F1: “Fourth is a good achievement for us, but I don’t think fourth is the achievement, two tenths of the pole is the achievement.

“A bit of a surprise because we haven’t been in for a second, let’s say, the entire weekend, but when we got into qualifying the car really got hooked and came to life a lot more.

“Some things to try to understand on our behalf why and how this has happened, but for a Saturday and how we are approaching this weekend, it was a perfect start.”

However, the 21-year-old takes nothing for granted considering that in Bahrain, Pérez found himself in the back after a first-lap collision with Charles Leclerc and still managed to win, while Norris could be at a disadvantage. strategic to start. on soft tires.

“One of the guys we have to be in the back is in the back, Lance Stroll is P8 and the Renaults were a little slower than we expected,” Norris said.

“But I don’t think we can rule out anything because Pérez came last and won last weekend. He often comes from behind and has had a podium or something, so we can’t relax or be happy about this. We still have a great job to do tomorrow.

“We were nervous if we could even get into Q3 today. Tomorrow I will have a slightly more difficult job than the media people, so it is not ideal, but I am a few positions ahead, so I will hold on ”.

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