In spite of McLaren's lack of feeling with the new Losail track, with both drivers struggling to end the practice sessions in the top ten like it happened in today's FP3, when Lando Norris was stuck in P13, the British driver managed to secure a strong starting P6 for tomorrow's Qatar GP.
After making the cut at the last minute in Q2, and seeing his teammate Daniel Ricciardo eliminated with the fourteenth time, Norris was extremely satisfied with his final driving performance, as he said after the qualifying session:
"Very happy with today. We made a good amount of improvement from FP3 into qualifying and we weren’t expecting P6. I'm definitely pleased with that, especially because it wasn’t an easy P6, but it was done with probably one of the best laps I’ve done in qualifying for quite a long time."
Norris, in the best F1 season of his career with four podiums, was delighted by his team's work as well, adding that they had "our longest debrief ever" to understand the reasons behind the lack of feeling with the layout:
"I'm satisfied with my job and what we did as a team as well, that helped us out today, so a positive day overall. We didn't get through [to Q3] on the medium tyre, which is the only negative."
"That's going to make our life a little more tricky than we want tomorrow, but we still have a good opportunity to score some solid points," he summed up, hopeful for the race and that he'll be able to do damage limitation for the constructor's championship fight, scoring some points in order to reduce the gap of 31.5 points to Ferrari in P3.
He concluded by remarking his displeasure with the starting tyre choice, that will put him in disadvantage in the fight with Sainz and for the constructor's standings, the Ferrari driver starting next to him on a more durable compound:
"If you get held up in the final sector its a bad thing but its a tricky circuit. The timing of turning in here is important. Tricky circuit to put it all together. I am not worried, but it's going to be tough. Starting on the soft is not what we wanted, Carlos starts on the medium so he will have a better race tomorrow."
Very happy with my lap today! Up there where we need to be. Full focus on tomorrow— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) November 20, 2021