Fresh from a one-two finish at the Italian Grand Prix, Lando Norris conquered his first F1 pole position in Sochi.
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Norris claimed McLaren's first pole since 2012, finishing 0.517s ahead of second-placed finisher, his former teammate Carlos Sainz.
"It's fantastic, I don't know what to say,” said a visibly excited Norris.
“It was an incredible session; it was already going well and then we made the decision to fit slicks.
“But we absolutely didn't think we would take pole. We did it, I'm extremely happy. I have to give a lot of credit to the team”
Lando Norris didn’t want to over-celebrate himself while he congratulated the team first and foremost.
“It was hard to get the right lap time. I don't want to praise myself too much, but it was complicated because we were right in the crossover situation. At the beginning I was two seconds behind”.
“I didn't think I could improve the previous lap that much. But I kept the tyres warm, tried the final lap and risked a lot. But the risk paid off and I am happy. For the race, I'm not looking too far ahead. I don't want to think about what will happen in Turn 1”.
The winner in Sochi has always come from the top three on the grid. Hence, the start of tomorrow’s race will be crucial if McLaren’s wants to try maximizing their chances.
Starting on pole, however, is not ideal in a circuit like Sochi. In fact, the 21-year-old driver admitted:
“It’s tricky; you have to put a lot of risk on the line and just try to see if it pays off and it did. So, yes, an amazing feeling, my first pole.
“Probably the only place I wouldn’t want to be pole is here, especially with the straight down to Turn 1”.
During the open media session, Lando admitted he was not so sure whether he will be able to hold on to the leader position.
“I think it is harder to give a clear answer than in Monza. Everyone was doing different things yesterday. Understanding everyone’s actual pace is harder than it was in Monza, there are a few unknowns we will need to review tonight”.
“Daniel was a lot more positive and confident last time out: he said he was going to go out and get a win and he did. So maybe I need to change my approach a little bit,” jokingly said the Briton.
“Normally I’m a bit more downbeat and if it turns out positive than it’s better rather than thinking positively and then coming out with a negative in a way.
“I will try my best but I think Mercedes are still as fast as they’ve been all season so it’s going to be a good challenge but I’m up for it”.
Then, he concluded the press session saying:
“I hope it's the first pole of many. We didn't expect this after Monza, but these are the occasions when we can take opportunities and we did. Hopefully we can continue like this tomorrow”.