Lando Norris beats Max Verstappen to Spanish Grand Prix pole by 0.02s

Lando Norris beats Max Verstappen to Spanish Grand Prix pole by 0.02s

Lando Norris beat F1 world championship leader Max Verstappen by the tiny margin of two hundredths of a second to take the second pole position of his career in qualifying for the 2024 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix. Behind the top two, Lewis Hamilton scored his best qualifying position since last year’s US Grand Prix with third place. 


At the start of Q1 Sergio Pérez set the early pace thanks to a lap of 1:13.090, almost seven tenths of a second clear of RB’s Daniel Ricciardo. Verstappen then lowered the benchmark by another seven tenths as he claimed top spot with a lap of 1:12.306. The Red Bull drivers were then split by McLaren’s Oscar Piastri who took P2 five hundredths of a second ahead of Pérez. And then, as the opening sequence of runs came to an end, Verstappen was bumped out of P1 by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who took top spot just under five hundredths of a second ahead of the Dutchman.


In the final runs Of Q1 Leclerc, Verstappen, third-placed Norris and P4 driver Carlos Sainz stayed in their garages for the final flyers, but further back Pérez, who had dropped to P10 as better times came in was forced to make another attempt. His lap of 1:12.477 boosted him to P8 and into to Q2.Hamilton meanwhile, used his final flyer to good effect, claiming P1 with a lap of 1:12.143. 


There was no place in Q2, however, for Haas’ Kevin Magnussen who was knocked out in P16 ahead of the RBs of Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo and the Williams cars of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant. 


At the start of Q2, Pérez was the first of the frontrunners across the line and once again he set the early benchmark, this time at 1:12.270. That was swiftly beaten by Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and by the McLaren pair of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, but it was Verstappen who put in the best opening time, with the title leader taking P1 thanks to a lap of 1:11.653, two tenths clear of Norris and third-placed Sainz. Piastri dropped to fourth ahead of Leclerc and Mercedes’ George Russell, while Pierre Gasly took seventh ahead of Pérez. 


As the second runs got underway, Hamilton who had been languishing in P15 jumped to second place and when Kick Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas also jumped into the top 10, Pérez fell to P10 and was on the brink of exit. Once again, though, the Red Bull driver clawed his way forward and his final lap of 1:12.054 put him eighth ahead of the Alpines of Gasly and Esteban Ocon. 


At the top of the order, Verstappen again sat out the final runs and this time the champion’s opening run time was good enough to hold onto top spot ahead of the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and George Russell. 


Ruled out after Q2 were Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in P11 followed by Bottas, Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg, the second Aston of Lance Stroll and the second Sauber of Zhou Guanyu. 


In keeping with the rest of the session Pérez was out early in Q3, though this time on used Soft tyres. That meant his first time of Q3 was slower than his Q2 times and he ended the opening runs in P9. 


Verstappen, though, was powering ahead and he set the benchmark at 1:11.673, a tenth ahead of Norris who was looking likeliest to challenge the Dutchman’s bid for a 40th career pole. The task looked daunting when Verstappen upped the pace even further in his final run and dropped the provisional pole time to 1:11.403. Norris was up to the challenge though and in the final seconds the McLaren driver found more pace to claw his way ahead of the champion by the tiny margin of two hundredths of a second. 


“It was pretty much a perfect lap,” said Norris of his first pole since the 2021 Russian Grand Prix. “You know you're on a good lap when you're getting excited but the whole thing went perfectly in the end. So, close, still, but super, super happy. One of my, I'd say, my best pole positions. I've not had many but out of the ones I've had, my best.” 


Verstappen was left with a 67th career front row ahead of the Mercedes cars of Hamilton and Russell. Leclerc was fifth for Ferrari ahead of team-mate Sainz, while Gasly took a welcome seventh for Alpine ahead of Pérez, Ocon and Piastri. However, with a three-place grid penalty from Canada coming his way for tomorrow, Pérez will starts the race in Barcelona from P11 on the grid. 


2024 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying 
1 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:11.383 - -
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:11.403 0.020 0.028
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.701 0.318 0.445
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:11.703 0.320 0.448
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:11.731 0.348 0.488
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:11.736 0.353 0.495
7 Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 1:11.857 0.474 0.664
8 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:12.061 0.678 0.950
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:12.125 0.742 1.039
10 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes - - -
11 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:12.128 0.745 1.044
12 Valtteri Bottas Sauber/Ferrari 1:12.227 0.844 1.182
13 Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 1:12.310 0.927 1.299
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:12.372 0.989 1.385
15 Zhou Guanyu Sauber/Ferrari 1:12.738 1.355 1.898
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:12.937 1.554 2.177
17 Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 1:12.985 1.602 2.244
18 Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 1:13.075 1.692 2.370
19 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:13.153 1.770 2.480
20 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1:13.509 2.126 2.978

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